Chemical Plastic

May 9, 2011

Prenatal BPA Exposure May causes Asthma in Children

Guide: Exposure to the chemical bisphenol A during early pregnancy may cause asthma in children, according to a Penn State College of Medicine researcher.

Bisphenol A, or BPA, is a chemical found in many consumer products, including plastic water bottles and food containers, according to a news release from the College of Medicine. It is present in more than 90 percent of the U.S. population, suggesting widespread exposure.

In their study of 367 pairs of mothers and infants, researchers from the Penn State College of Medicine measured BPA levels in the urine of the pregnant women at 16 and 26 weeks’ gestation, as well as after delivery. Nearly all the women had detectable BPA in their urine at some point during pregnancy.

At six months, the odds of wheezing are twice as high for children with mothers who had higher BPA than those who had mothers with lower BPA levels, the study showed.

Researchers also found that high BPA levels detected in women at 16 weeks’ gestation were associated with wheeze in their offspring, but high levels at 26 weeks’ gestation and birth were not, a possible indication that timing of BPA exposure in pregnancy may be more significant than the level of exposure.

“This suggests that there are periods of time during pregnancy when the fetus is more vulnerable,” Spanier said in the release. “Exposure during early pregnancy may be worse than exposure in later pregnancy.”

Until more information is available, Dr. Spanier recommended, women of child-bearing age should consider avoiding products made with BPA.

The researchers reported their findings at the Pediatric Academic Societies’ annual meeting in Denver on May 1. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences supported this project.

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