The study by the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM) said that the chemicals, called endocrine disruptors, were causing problems for the hormones that stimulate the growth of dental enamel.
It has warned that these chemicals should be avoided in children who are under five.
Bisphenol A (BPA) is one of the most prevalent and is found in everyday items including refillable drink bottles and food storage containers, the research said.
In this study, researchers from the INSERM gave rats daily doses of BPA alone or in combination with another chemical called vinclozolin. The amount was equivalent to the average exposure humans have on a daily basis, from birth until they were 30 days old.
They then collected cells from the rats’ teeth surface and found that BPA and vinclozolin changed the expression of two genes controlling the mineralisation of tooth enamel.
“Tooth enamel starts at the third trimester of pregnancy and ends at the age of five, so minimising exposure to endocrine disruptors at this stage in life as a precautionary measure would be one way of reducing the risk of enamel weakening,” said Dr Katia Jedeon, lead author of the study.
FSA: ‘not a health concern’
However, while the Food Standards Agency admitted minute amounts of BPA can transfer from packaging into food and drinks, it said that independent experts have advised that these levels of exposure are not considered to be harmful.
On its website the FSA said: “Independent studies have shown that, even when consumed at high levels, BPA is rapidly absorbed, detoxified, and eliminated from humans.”
It highlighted that the European Food Safety Authority had reduced the tolerable daily intake (TDI) to address the uncertainties surrounding the potential health effects of BPA.
It added: “The current exposure to BPA from food contact materials is considerably below the new TDI and, therefore, is not a health concern.”