Pregnant women who absorb a common chemical from everyday plastic products such as water bottles and other containers could be putting their unborn children at risk of developing cancer and other diseases when they reach adulthood. Animal studies done at Duke University Medical Center found that exposure in the womb to bisphenol A (BPA) caused changes associated with obesity, cancer and diabetes. Interestingly, when pregnant mice were also given folic acid, the effects of BPA were mitigated. This study should definitely make consumers pause, because scientists have reported that around 95% of human adults test positive for BPA. The chemical is similar to the female sex hormone, and has therefore been suspected of possible harm for years. Clearly, more tests need to be done on BPA. Animal studies don't always scale up to effects seen among human beings. But the results are one more piece of evidence in the case against synthetic hormone-mimicking compounds. To be safe, consumers may choose the route of precaution, and try to avoid BPA-containing plastics, especially while pregnant. BPA is found in hard plastics that carry the recycling number 7. They are often clear but may be tinted. Common examples include water bottles and coolers, baby bottles, toys and utensils. Specific plastic names include polycarbonate, Lexan and polysulfone. Use glass baby bottles instead, and be sure to dispose of plastic bottles that are more than a year old, cracked or scratched, in order to minimize exposure. A California Bill recently took aim to ban BPA from certain toys, pacifiers, baby bottles and teethers for children under 3, but was defeated.
Read more about this story from the London Daily Telegraph.
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