Maybe it’s because following three nephews, I finally welcomed a beautiful little niece this week but this recent study hit home with me: A study recently published in the journal Pediatrics, scientists tested 244 pregnant women and their 3 year-old children for BPA exposure and found that when mom’s BPA levels had been high, the children were much more likely to show signs of hyperactivity, anxiety and depression. Regrettably the effects of BPA are gender specific and it is the girls who’re suffering.
So what exactly are BPA’s and how are women exposed to them?
Bisphenol A (or BPA) is an industrial chemical that may be identified in hard plastic bottles, reusable cups, the lining of canned foods and liquids including some baby formulas. Studies have found that BPA may be an endocrine disrupter blocking how chemical signals function within the body so organs may not develop normally. Study author Joe Braun of the Department of Environmental Health at the Harvard School of Public Health explains: “Our study is consistent with some of the animal studies that say that BPA impacts brain development in monkeys and rodents.”
Pregnant women (and genuinely all of us) should keep away from making use of plastic containers with recycle codes 3 and 7, minimize consumption of canned foods (choose fresh veggies instead!) and should use glass containers to heat food in place of polycarbonate plastic food containers.
The American Academy of Pediatrics support the research findings while naturally the American Chemistry Council, representing plastic manufacturers, is cautious to accept the findings of the study stating that “the study released in Pediatrics has significant shortcomings in study design and the conclusions are of unknown relevance to public health. The researchers themselves acknowledge that it had statistical deficiencies, including its small sample size and the potential for the results being due to chance alone.”
But even the FDA, in 2010, changed their tune and acknowledged that given recent studies, there was room “for some concern about the potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and children.”
Beyond the womb, new moms need to continue to keep their children chemical-free whether that implies using homemade cleansers or opting for organic baby blankets and organic baby clothing.
Also, be sure to visit the website for the Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units which can supply advice on environmentally related health effects in children.