Bisphenol A (BPA) is a current topic of environmental and health concern. BPA is a chemical used to improve the durability of materials without adding weight. It directly affects consumers as it is found in polycarbonate plastics, resins lining food cans and water bottles, dental composites, and on thermal paper receipts (frequently used in point-of-sale machines).
The health concern with BPA is that it is a xenoestrogen and therefore acts as a hormone in our bodies and disrupts hormonal function including the hormone-sensitive developing brain.
Studies with mice have shown that the mother’s exposure to BPA during pregnancy causes critical changes in brain development, and a recent study published in a publication of Pediatrics suggested that human brains were similarly affected. The study followed women from the second trimester of pregnancy, measuring blood and urine BPA levels during the pregnancy. The children were followed and assessed from infancy onward until the age of eight or nine. Behavioural issues like difficulty sitting still, needing to be redirected frequently, and talking about being sad or depressed were associated with higher urinary BPA concentrations in the mothers during pregnancy. Interestingly, it was only the behavioural and emotional regulation of girls that seemed to be affected.
Minimizing exposure to BPA and other xenoestrogens is important at all times, but increased awareness is necessary during pregnancy. Options for avoiding BPA include:
An understanding of BPA sources as well as making small lifestyle changes during pregnancy will help to support the development of a healthy and happy baby.
– by Dr. Schmidt-White