Study: BPA Processes Differently in Fetuses

Bisphenol A, or BPA, has been under investigation for quite some time. Animal studies have associated BPA with breast cancer, prostate cancer, reproductive abnormalities and behavioral abnormalities. Some human studies have even linked BPA to miscarriage, childhood behavioral problems, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, metabolism problems, obesity and decreased semen quality. Yet this chemical still remains in plastics, metal food cans and beverage cans because the FDA says that more research is needed to confirm the potentially dangerous side-effects of exposure.

image of a human fetus

Nationally representative health studies have found BPA in the urine of 95 percent of those tested. But researchers say that understanding the internal dose is essential in determining the long-term effects so there needs to be evidence of the chemical in tissue. While this has yet to be found in adults, a new study has found the chemical in the liver tissues of fetuses.

“The finding of free BPA in fetuses is significant,” Dana Dolinoy, the John G. Searle Assistant Professor of Environmental Health Sciences and senior corresponding author of the study told Medical News Today. “Our research shows that the argument that it’s so rapidly metabolized is not true in fetuses.”

Free BPA, which is different than conjugated BPA that has been metabolized, was found in the livers of 50 first- and second-trimester fetuses with the help of high-performance liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry. In fact, the free BPA levels in fetuses were found to be three times higher than the conjugated levels in the livers of adults.

“The general message from our research is that people have to be cognizant of the fact that the adult body may be able to deal with a particular exposure but a developing fetus may not,” Muna Nahar, doctoral student in the School of Public Health’s Department of Environmental Health Sciences and first author on the paper told Medical News Today.

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About the author


Kate Givans is a wife and a mother of five—four sons (one with autism) and a daughter. She’s an advocate for breastfeeding, women’s rights, against domestic violence, and equality for all. When not writing—be it creating her next romance novel or here on Growing Your Baby—Kate can be found discussing humanitarian issues, animal rights, eco-awareness, food, parenting, and her favorite books and shows on Twitter or Facebook. Laundry is the bane of her existence, but armed with a cup of coffee, she sometimes she gets it done.

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