BPA in Mothers May Harm Newborns

Posted on Jul 4, 2013 in Health & Wellness, Health Optimization

If you’re pregnant you might want to limit your intake of canned foods and beverages, and water or food packaged in plastic containers. The reason: All are associated with BPA , a chemical contaminant that when consumed during pregnancy, may impact baby’s health for years to come.

That’s the conclusion of a new study presented this weekend by doctors from Penn State College of Medicine at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) in Denver, Colorado.

Here, researchers offered new evidence that women exposed to the chemical BPA – bisphenol A – during pregnancy increase the risk of that their newborn will suffer breathing problems – particularly wheezing for years to come. BPA is frequently used in the linings of cans that contain food and beverages and in certain plastic food containers, including bottles used for many types of spring or distilled water. In fact the use of BPA is so prevalent it has been reported that trace levels are detectable in up to 90% of Americans.

In this study of 367 pairs of mothers and infants researchers measured the amount of BPA in the urine of pregnant women during weeks 16 and 26 of their pregnancy, as well as soon after they delivered their baby.

They then compared the levels of BPA found in the urine to health histories of the infants taken over a period of three years. Specifically the researchers looked for incidence of breathing problems, particularly wheezing.

The result: A whopping 99% of the infants who had a history of wheezing were born to mothers with detectable levels of BPA in their urine during pregnancy. Moreover, the amount of BPA appeared to be related to the severity of the wheezing and breathing difficulties. By 6 months of age children of women with the highest levels of BPA in their urine were twice as likely to have wheezing and breathing problems as babies of mother’s with low levels of BPA.

Fertility expert Dr. Niels Lauersen , author of the new book Green Fertility: Nature’s Secrets for Making Babies, says he’s not at all surprised by the new findings.

“This is a chemical that for quite some time has been suspected of causing various types of wide-spread effects in the human body – including infertility – so it comes as no surprise that it would have an effect on a developing baby when consumed by a mother during pregnancy,” says Lauersen. He adds that this study may be prove to be just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what we will continue to uncover about the way in which BPA consumed during pregnancy may impact a baby’s immediate as well as future health.

According to The National Toxicology Program of the National Institutes of Health, concerns over links between BPA exposure and brain development, prostate growth, and behavioral problems in children has been a cause for concern for some time.

Lead study author Adam J. Spanier, MD, PhD, says that , “Consumers need more information about the chemicals in the products they purchase so they can make informed decisions.”

If you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant Lauersen says occassional exposure is not likely to harm you. However, he adds that avoiding products containing BPA as much as possible is a good idea during pregnancy – and when you are trying to conceive.

“If you drink bottled water buy it in hard plastic bottles or glass bottles which contain no BPA, or transfer it out of the plastic bottle before drinking; avoid canned foods, particularly canned tomato products which encourage leaching of the BPA in the lining into the food itself; when possible buy soft drinks and beverages sold in glass bottles, or transfer them from cans to glasses before drinking.” If you take these few simple steps , he says, you will be gaining a great deal of protection for yourself and your baby.