More bad news for babies on the BPA front, and this time the damage is done even before they are born.
In a new study presented yesterday at the Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting, researchers from Hershey Medical Center announced that the higher the amount of BPA an expecting mother is exposed to early in her pregnancy, the more likely her newborn will experience wheezing during the first three years of life.
According to Dr. Adam Spanier, a pediatrician at Hershey Medical Center and lead author of the study, fetuses exposed to high levels of BPA at 16 weeks of gestation were more likely to develop a transient wheeze than those who were not exposed to the chemical in utero. At 6 months, the infants were twice as likely to wheeze. The link between prenatal BPA exposure and infant wheezing continued until the child reached 3 years old, at which time it appeared to clear up. The same link was not found when the pregnant moms were exposed to BPA later in pregnancy.
The study was small, including only 367 pairs of mothers and infants whose BPA levels were tested at 16 and 26 weeks of gestation and again during the delivery. But it was significant in that it was the first study to evaluate the link between BPA and wheezing and set a baseline for future research on the effects of prenatal BPA exposure to moms and infants.
It is also interesting to note that 99 percent of the moms-to-be in the study tested positive for some BPA exposure. The amount varied wildly from 0.4 to 37.5 micrograms per liter. It was within this broad range that the researchers were able to determine that the more BPA the pregnant mom was exposed to, the greater it affected her child.
Previous animal studies have linked BPA to potential side effects on the brain, behavioral issues, and the prostate gland of boys as babies and children.