Register for an account

X

Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.

X

Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.

Health

First Plastic Went After Babies; Now It's Messing Up Science Itself

A new study shows that plastic lab equipment can interfere with experiments.

By Andrew GrantJanuary 30, 2009 6:00 AM
plastic-cylinder.jpg
Image: <a href="http://flickr.com/photos/skycaptaintwo/583749159/" target="_blank">Flickr / skycaptaintwo</a> | NULL

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

Concerned parents have switched from plastic to metal water bottles to protect their kids from bisphenol A and phthalates, plastic-hardening chemicals suspected of posing health risks. Now a study in Science [subscription required] reveals that plastics may also be a problem in the lab: Compounds purposely embedded in plastic lab equipment—to prevent bacteria from growing and to lower the melting temperature—can taint complex biological experiments, potentially skewing the results. For instance, pharmacologist Andrew Holt and his team at the University of Alberta in Canada recently discovered that chemicals released from disposable plastic test tubes interfered with a Parkinson’s drug they were testing by binding to the gamma-aminobutyric acid proteins in the experiment. Such effects have not been seen beyond a handful of instances, but for now, Holt says, researchers may want to switch to glass instruments.

3 Free Articles Left

Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.

Subscribe

Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

Want unlimited access?

Subscribe today and save 70%

Subscribe

Already a subscriber? Register or Log In