A study released this week became the latest to warn about the possible risks of plasticizer chemicals that are increasingly used as alternatives to bisphenol A.
Quartz reports that researchers from China and Japan examined the potential impact of fluorene-9-bisphenol, which is often incorporated into water bottles labeled as BPA-free.
The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, found that the chemical, abbreviated as BHFP, caused uterine problems and miscarriages in mice, the website noted.
"This study provided evidence that anti-oestrogenic chemical exposure may cause adverse pregnancy outcomes, suggesting that environmental anti-oestrogens, as well as their adverse effects on human reproductive health, should be of concern," the authors wrote.
The analysis also found traces of the chemical in seven out of 100 college students, although researchers did not test the water bottles used by the students or include a control group in that study.
The chemical industry vigorously defended BPA as safe — citing findings from U.S. and European regulators — but numerous studies linked the chemical to disruption of the endocrine system and subsequent health problems.
Those results prompted widespread bans of the product in infant and children's products and increasingly led consumers to steer away from products with BPA included.
Other studies, however, warned of the possibility that similar compounds, many of which have not undergone scientific evaluation, could also interfere with the endocrine system. BHFP, Quartz reported, is likely to block the effects of estrogen rather than mimic them like BPA or the common substitute Bisphenol S.
Although some experts told the website that the latest study did not demonstrate much of a risk to humans, both the authors and critics agreed that further research into substitute plasticizers is needed.
"Our data suggest that BPA substitutes should be tested for anti-oestrogenic activity and call for further study of the toxicological effects of BHPF on human health," the authors wrote in Nature Communications.