A new study from the University of Michigan found high levels of the toxin BPA in the liver tissue of fetuses, which shows you how much exposure your average woman has to the chemical during pregnancy. BPA, or bisphenol A, exposure is especially bad for pregnant women because fetuses don’t have the same ability to eliminate it as adults do.
“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,” said Muna Nahar, doctoral student in the School of Public Health’s Department of Environmental Health Sciences and first author on the paper.
BPA effects are potentially broad and dangerous. Animal studies have linked BPA exposure with breast and prostate cancer and reproductive problems, while human studies have tied BPA to heart disease, miscarriage, bad semen and childhood behavior problems. It could also impact obesity and diabetes. One animal study, published in June in the journal Endocrinology, found low levels of exposure to BPA during gestation had long-term effects on the brain and social behavior.
Part of the reason it’s so hard for lawmakers, companies or anyone to say how much BPA is safe in products like cans, toys, etc. is that there haven’t been very many good studies on how and how much BPA humans absorb from these things. Understanding the internal dose obtained through ingestion, inhalation and skin contact with BPA — and how quickly its metabolized, or expelled from the body — is necessary to determine its effects on human health.
“Our research shows that the argument that it’s so rapidly metabolized is not true in fetuses,” said study co-author Dana Dolinoy.
For surprising sources of BPA, see here.