Chemical used in baby bottles harms growing foetuses

January 28th, 2009 - 5:07 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Jan 28 (IANS) A new study has shown that high levels of bisphenol A, a chemical used in making plastic baby bottles, harms growing foetuses by remaining in the body longer than suspected.The compound has been found to harm the brain and prostate glands in developing feotuses and infants, while adults with higher levels face greater risks for heart disease and diabetes.

Manufacturers use bisphenol A or BPA to harden plastics in many types of products. In addition to plastic bottles, BPA is used in PVC water pipes and food storage containers and as coating inside metal food cans and in dental sealants.

Controversy around BPA is mounting. Last December, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) agreed to reconsider the health risks of the chemical.

The latest finding from University of Rochester Medical Centre is significant because, until now, scientists believed that BPA was excreted quickly and that people were exposed to BPA primarily through food.

Indeed, the FDA and the European Food Safety Authority have declared BPA safe, based in part on those assumptions.

“Our results simply do not fit that picture,” said co-author Richard W. Stahlhut, of Rochester’s Environmental Health Sciences Centre. “The research community has clues that could help explain some of these results but to date the importance of the clues have been underestimated.”

Stahlhut and colleagues obtained data for a sample of 1,469 American adults through the Centre for Disease Control’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).

The researchers explored the link between BPA urine concentration and the length of time a person had been fasting.

Stahlhut theorises that BPA may seep into fat tissues, where it would be released more slowly, said a Rochester release.

In 2000, another study found that BPA can migrate from PVC pipes or hoses into room temperature water, producing another potential route of exposure.

The study was published Wednesday in Environmental Health Perspectives.

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