New research indicates that high levels of BPA, a chemical in many plastics and canned food linings, might increase the risk of miscarriage in women, reports the Washington Post.
BPA, short for bisphenol-A, and certain other environmental chemicals can have weak, hormone-like effects. The chemical has been removed from baby bottles and many reusable drink containers in recent years, but most people’s urine contains traces of BPA. The federal Food and Drug Administration says BPA is safe. It is presently used in other food containers.
BPA and Pregnancy
Most miscarriages are due to egg or chromosome problems. A study in mice suggested BPA might influence that risk, said Dr. Ruth Lathi, a StanfordUniversity reproductive endocrinologist.
Lathi and other researches used a federal grant to study 115 newly pregnant women with a history of infertility or miscarriage; 68 wound up having miscarriages and 47 had live births.
When the women were discovered pregnant, researchers started to collect and analyze blood samples. The women were divided into four groups based on BPA levels. Women in the top quarter had an 80 percent greater risk of miscarriage compared to those in the bottom group, although they were similar in age and other factors.
Lathi said it could be that the women had other risk factors for miscarriage that were amplified by BPA. More studies about the affect of BPA on pregnancy are needed.
The study is not cause for alarm, but “it’s far from reassuring that BPA is safe” for pregnant women, she said.
How to Avoid BPA Exposure during Pregnancy
It’s impossible to avoid BPA exposure completely. If you are pregnant and want to minimize BPA exposure, do the following:
- Avoid cooking or warming food in plastic because heat helps the chemical leak out
- Don’t leave water bottles in the sun
- Limit use of canned foods
- Avoid handling cash register receipts, which often are coated with resins that contain BPA