From canned food to plastic bottles, Bisphenol-A seems to be cropping up everywhere, and now two new studies show that BPA crosses the placenta from pregnant mother to fetus freely. Plus, the research found that chemical transformations occur in the fetus allowing inactive BPA to be converted to the active form.Experts with Environmental Health News have grouped the studies together–one human and one rat–and say in combination, they give scientists good reason to believe that people are exposed to BPA before birth, and unfortunately, the risks to the developing fetus may be greater than previously thought.
The first study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives tested the ability of both active and inactive BPA to cross the placenta of pregnant rats. The researchers found that both forms can cross the placental barrier and once there, the inactive form, BPA-glucuronide, can become active.
The second study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology used human placentas (from Cesarean section births) and simulated the BPA transfer from mother to fetus. The researchers found that 27 percent of the BPA simulated on the mother’s side transferred to the fetal side. Plus, more than 95 percent of the BPA that crossed to the fetus remained in it’s active, estrogenic form.
Together, both studies provide evidence that the fetus will not be protected from BPA by the placenta. The ability of BPA to reach the fetus is incredibly worrisome since the fetus is highly sensitive to hormones. Exposure to estrogen-mimicking hormones like BPA at this early stage of development could lead to troubling issues that could crop up later during puberty or adulthood.
In fact, a new study from researchers at Yale School of Medicine suggests that exposure to BPA and other endocrine-disrupting chemicals in the womb can increase breast cancer risk. But, these effects won’t appear until kids are old enough for breast cancer to surface. The study, which was published in the latest issue of Hormones and Cancer, helps to demonstrate the scary lasting effects of prenatal BPA exposure on the breast and uterus.
Research shows that more than 90 percent of Americans have detectable BPA in their urine and the chemical has been found in amniotic fluid, human placenta, breast milk and fat.