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Earth Medicine Science

Studies Prove BPA Can Cross Placenta To Fetuses 234

Posted by kdawson
from the estrogen-mimic dept.
Totes McGotes writes "From canned food to plastic bottles, Bisphenol-A seems to be cropping up everywhere, and now two new studies show that BPA freely crosses the placenta from pregnant mother to fetus. Plus, the research found that chemical transformations occur in the fetus allowing inactive BPA to be converted to the active form."
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Studies Prove BPA Can Cross Placenta To Fetuses

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  • Re:Aaaand... (Score:3, Informative)

    by ecklesweb (713901) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @04:04PM (#32501254)

    It's a chemical used in many crystal-clear hard plastics. Like water bottles and baby bottles. Don't remember what it does to you - rots your brain or something.

  • Re:Aaaand... (Score:2, Informative)

    by GungaDan (195739) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @04:09PM (#32501310) Homepage

    It feminizes, IIRC.

  • Re:Great description (Score:5, Informative)

    by camperdave (969942) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @04:12PM (#32501344) Journal
    Bisphenol A is a component in polycarbonate plastics, used to make stuff like baby and water bottles, sports equipment, medical and dental devices, dental fillings and sealants, eyeglass lenses, CDs and DVDs, and household electronics. It is also used in thermal and carbonless paper, and as a protective coating on the inside of tin cans. BPA has been linked to obesity and many cancers, and worst of all (dumm, dumm, DAHHHH) adult male sexual dysfunction.
  • Bisphenol-A (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anon-Admin (443764) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @04:14PM (#32501382) Homepage Journal

    After a little digging I find that it is suspected in everything from breast cancer to obesity in children. It has been suspected as being bad sense the 1930's but there is no direct link to it causing any notable issues.

    So in 80+ years of research the best they can come up with is "There may be an issue with Bisphenol-A"

    It also seems to me that in 3 generations we would have seen a difference or at a minimum science should be able to say "It causes XXX"

  • Sort of (Score:5, Informative)

    by Benfea (1365845) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @04:16PM (#32501406)
    It acts like female hormones once it gets inside the human body. Not good for adults, but really bad for babies.
  • by thePig (964303) <rajmohan_h@y[ ]o.com ['aho' in gap]> on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @04:27PM (#32501546) Journal

    There has been quite a bit of scientific literature regarding BPA - see the links from Wikipedia [wikipedia.org].

  • Better Article (Score:3, Informative)

    by BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @04:39PM (#32501712) Homepage Journal
    For those of you that don't want to dig through the links in the summary blog, here is a more in-depth discussion [environmen...thnews.org] of the papers.
  • by mcgrew (92797) * on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @04:50PM (#32501896) Homepage Journal

    According to Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] you remember it wrong. And it wasn't the '90s, it was two years ago.

    In 2007, a consensus statement by 38 experts on bisphenol A concluded that average levels in people are above those that cause harm to many animals in laboratory experiments.[28] A panel convened by the U.S. National Institutes of Health determined that there was "some concern" about BPA's effects on fetal and infant brain development and behavior.[10] A 2008 report by the U.S. National Toxicology Program (NTP) later agreed with the panel, expressing "some concern for effects on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland in fetuses, infants, and children at current human exposures to bisphenol A," and "minimal concern for effects on the mammary gland and an earlier age for puberty for females in fetuses, infants, and children at current human exposures to bisphenol A." The NTP had "negligible concern that exposure of pregnant women to bisphenol A will result in fetal or neonatal mortality, birth defects, or reduced birth weight and growth in their offspring."[29]

    Also, later in the wiki article it says there's a link between BPA and both obesity and drug abuse.

    Disruption of the dopaminergic system
    A 2005 review concluded that prenatal and neonatal exposure to BPA in mice can potentiate the central dopaminergic systems, resulting in the supersensitivity to the drugs-of-abuse-induced reward effects and hyperlocomotion.[47]

    A 2008 review has concluded that BPA, mimic estrogenic activity and impact various dopaminergic processes to enhance mesolimbic dopamine activity resulting in hyperactivity, attention deficits, and a heightened sensitivity to drugs of abuse.[48]

    A 2009 study on rats has concluded that prenatal and neonatal exposure to low-dose BPA causes deficits in development at dorsolateral striatum via altering the function of dopaminergic receptors.[49] Another 2009 study has found associated changes in the dopaminergic system.[45]

  • Re:Aaaand... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Bakkster (1529253) <Bakkster@man.gmail@com> on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @04:53PM (#32501928)

    Oh, they're all bad.

    Say what now? Nylon? Polyethylene? Nothing bad about them at all.

    As a rule, it's usually the additives and trace chemicals from production that cause problems. All plastics are large chain molecules (and thus not absorbed by the body) and most are quite stable and do not break into monamers that could very easily (which is why most plastics are not biodegradable, and the very reason they are used).

  • Re:Bisphenol-A (Score:4, Informative)

    by ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @04:55PM (#32501974)

    Actually, while in no way implicating BPA, in the average age of puberty has been dropping in Western countries for the past 170 years (since the 1840s according to the Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org]). The disparity seems to correlate at least in part, to industrialization; the shift started later in Japan (1945), but progressed more rapidly (dropping by 11 months per decade, instead of 4 months per decade in Europe). In 1840, the average age of first menstruation was 17, in France, 15.3. Nowadays, either age would be considered quite late; typical onset of menstruation is now around age 11.75 worldwide; 12.5 in the U.S.

    Clearly, BPA isn't responsible for the entire historical shift (what with BPA containing plastics only becoming common in the last 50 years or so); changes in diet (particularly the reduction in malnourishment levels) and activity levels (hunter gatherer groups tend to have an onset later than their diet would otherwise allow for) are responsible for some of the difference. But the increased exposure to all sorts of hormone mimicking chemicals (such as BPA) was likely responsible for some of the shift as well. The question is whether BPA is unusually damaging, whether it is possible to remove BPA and other hormone mimicking chemicals from our products and the environment without affecting us negatively in other ways, etc.

    Unlike the realm of medicine, where the scientific method has been applied for to evaluate treatments more and more often in recent decades, the chemical industry remains largely untested and unregulated. People were painting their homes with lead paint and burning leaded gas in their cars and it took decades for studies to make the link to retardation and poor impulse control. For something like BPA, where the negative effects seem to be longer term and less severe than that of lead poisoning, it's not at all surprising that no one has investigated it until recently.

  • Timeframes (Score:3, Informative)

    by PIPBoy3000 (619296) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @05:05PM (#32502134)
    Science is pretty good at detecting problems that kill you instantly. In this case, it would be a correlation between BPA exposure while pregnant and breast cancer your children get forty years later. It's difficult to make studies that prove this firmly.
  • Re:Bisphenol-A (Score:3, Informative)

    by MobyDisk (75490) * on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @05:40PM (#32502642) Homepage

    So in 80+ years of research the best they can come up with is "There may be an issue with Bisphenol-A"

    Why is that not enough? Do you want them to force feed the stuff to a bunch of people for 30 years and compare them to the general population? Unfortunately, that is just about the only way to know for sure. Will you volunteer to be one of the people in that study? And when it is done, promise not to sue them for turning you into an obese breast-cancer infected human with no reproductive system left.

    BPA is a leeches into your body at low levels over your entire lifetime. It is really hard to tell what that does. It's easy to give someone a 500% overdose and say "look, it killed them!" but how do you definitely determine what it does when nearly everyone is ingesting it, and over a very long period of time? These are called lifelong studies, and the variables are darned tough to control. The fact that there is any correlation at all is enough to say "stop putting this into your body now." Especially since the stuff that leeches BPA is just a cheaper way to manufacture the bottles. Pretty soon, nobody will remember those old stinky smelly bottles that gave your food & water a plastic taste. And we will never kno how much better off we are. I'm fine with that.

  • Re:Great description (Score:3, Informative)

    by bzipitidoo (647217) <bzipitidoo@yahoo.com> on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @06:35PM (#32503182) Journal
    No, it is number 3 (and 7) plastic that may contain BPA. 7 just because it's the category for everything else, but 3 especially. I have not seen any number 3 plastic lately.
  • Re:Great description (Score:4, Informative)

    by dacarr (562277) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @06:37PM (#32503210) Homepage Journal
    Not quite. Type 2 is HDPE, which according to Wikipedia [wikipedia.org], does not use BPA. Same with types 1, 4, 5, and 6 - PETE, LDPE, Polypropylene, and Polystyrene, respectively. 3 (PVC) and some 7 (Other, particularly polycarbonate and epoxy) use them.
  • Does it though? (Score:5, Informative)

    by snowwrestler (896305) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @07:21PM (#32503856)

    BPA as a chemical was discovered in the 19th century and it was investigated as a synthetic estrogen in the 1930s. However, it was never pursued as a production estrogen replacement (unlike DES). The question is, why not? Try to find an answer online--it's very difficult.

    My understanding is that while it appeared to act like estrogen in the test tube, it turned out to have very little measurable estrogen-like effect in humans. My understanding is based on reading I did on BPA several years ago, but I have misplaced the citations. If anyone has a link to a detailed history of the pharma research involving BPA in the early 20th century, I'd be interested to read it. The Wikipedia article, for instance, is pretty much silent on anything involving BPA before a few years ago.

  • Re:Bisphenol-A (Score:3, Informative)

    by evilviper (135110) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @07:51PM (#32504278) Journal

    It has been suspected as being bad sense the 1930's but there is no direct link to it causing any notable issues.

    "The first evidence of the estrogenicity of bisphenol A came from experiments on rats conducted in the 1930s, but it was not until 1997 that adverse effects of low-dose exposure on laboratory animals were first reported."

    It also seems to me that in 3 generations we would have seen a difference or at a minimum science should be able to say "It causes XXX"

    I've got one:

    "Bisphenol-A causes you to develop smaller genitals."

    Also, how about: "Perinatal Exposure to Low Doses of Bisphenol A Affects Body Weight,
    Patterns of Estrous Cyclicity, and Plasma LH Levels" http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/picrender.fcgi?artid=1240370&blobtype=pdf [nih.gov]

    Any material in contact with food that has such a confirmed, physical affect should be eliminated, nothing else needed. If it was some form of medicine, fine, it has side effects. I don't want my food, or it's packaging to have medical side effects.

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