The adverse reproductive effects latched to bisphenol A, or BPA, continue to mount. According to a recent study from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, pregnant woman with elevated levels of BPA in their blood have an increased risk for preterm births.
BPA is a toxic chemical present in polycarbonate plastics. It is an endocrine disruptor that mirrors estrogen, a hormone that plays a pivotal role in reproductive health. Since BPA embodies the form of estrogen, it can bind to hormone receptors. The problem is the receptors already receive enough natural hormones. Whenever the receptors are over flooded, they can impact the normal functioning of cells throughout the body.
In the recent study, headed by Ramkumar Menon, an assistant professor in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at UTMB, working with Winthrop University Hospital and Kaiser Permanente Southern California, researchers discovered that pregnant women with high concentrations of BPA in their blood had an increased risk of delivering their babies prematurely in comparison to pregnant women with low concentrations of BPA in their blood.
The study, published in The Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine, reviewed the blood samples of woman who had been admitted to the hospital for labor, as well as the amniotic fluid of the fetus obtained during labor.
“Women are continuously exposed to BPA because it’s used in the construction and coatings of food containers and its release into food is increased by microwave or other heat sources,” Menon said in a press statement. “In fact, BPA is so widely used that nearly all women have some level of exposure,” he added.
BPA attaches itself to receptors responsible for inflammation. This can spur atypical inflammation, which increases the risk for numerous pregnancy complications, like preterm birth. This was the first time researchers examined the impact BPA blood levels have on preterm birth.
“Widespread use of BPA in materials of our daily life and our findings that all patients have some level of exposure suggests that contact with these materials is unavoidable,” Menon noted. “This suggests that a better understanding of how BPA may alter maternal physiology is needed to minimize the risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes,” he continued.
Similar findings on the adverse reproductive effects of BPA have been cross verified by other studies. For example, according to a 2013 study consisting of 115 pregnant women published in journal Human Reproduction, participants with the highest levels of BPA in their bloodstream were 83 percent more likely to suffer a miscarriage.
“Couples suffering from infertility or recurrent miscarriages would be best advised to reduce BPA exposure because it has the potential to adversely affect fetal development,” the authors of the study concluded.
It is estimated that approximately 90 percent of the American public has BPA in their bodies. Despite the clear health risks associated with BPA, the FDA insists that BPA is safe. Although, in 2012 and 2013, the FDA did grant two petitions calling for a ban on certain BPA based material present in baby bottles and formula.