Expertise: Plastics

 

Jorg is our expert on plastics. Head of the aquatic ecotoxicology department at Goethe University, Frankfurt. Oehlmann conducted studies on chemicals in plastic bottles and their effect on the biological make-up of freshwater snails. Groups of freshwater snails were cultured in glass bottles and plastic bottles made from PET polyethylene terephthalate. PET leaches the chemicals bisphenol A (BPA) and octylphenol (OP), which comprise a substantial quantity of estrogen-mimicking pollution. The female snails after a 5 month exposure to the chemicals in their lowest concentrations, underwent a series of complicated biological alterations.

Such changes induced by bisphenol and octylphenol included:

  • An enlargement of the accessory pallial sex glands

  • Ruptured or extensive malformations of the pallial oviducts causing their mortality rate to increase

  • Substantial stimulation of oocyte (young ovum) and spawning mass production

 

From Oehlmann's conclusion of his study:

“We must have identified just the tip of the iceberg in that plastic packaging may be a major source of xenohormone contamination of many other edibles. Our findings provide an insight into the potential exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals due to unexpected sources of contamination.”

Jorg Oehlmann