The research team – led by Ariane Berdal of the Universite Paris-Diderot and Sylvie Babajko, research director at Inserm Unit 872 Centre des Cordeliers – has shown these findings in the teeth of rats treated with low daily doses of BPA.

Analysis of the damage shows characteristics that are common with a recently identified pathology of tooth enamel known as MIH (Molar Incisor Hypomineralisation) that selectively affects first molars and permanent incisors, found in roughly 18% of children between the ages of 6 and 8. Children affected by this present with teeth that are hypersensitive to pain and liable to cavities.

BPA is a chemical compound used in the composition of plastics and resins. It is used to manufacture food containers such as babies’ bottles and for the protective films inside drinks cans and food tins.

Significant amounts of BPA have also been found in human blood, urine, amniotic liquid and placentas. Recent studies have shown that this industrial compound has adverse effects on the reproduction, development and metabolism of laboratory animals. It is strongly suspected of having the same effects on humans.

As a precautionary measure, the manufacture and commercialisation of babies’ bottles containing bisphenol A were prohibited in Europe in January 2011. The prohibition will be extended to all food containers in France as from July 2015.

According to Sylvie Babajko: ‘Insofar as BPA has the same mechanism of action in rats as in men, it could also be a causal agent of MIH. Therefore, teeth could be used as early markers of exposure to endocrine disruptors acting in the same way as BPA and so could help in early detection of serious pathologies that would otherwise have occurred several years later’.