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Prenatal BPA exposure linked to wheezing in babies

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
BPA and wheezing linked

Pregnant women exposed to BPA are more likely to have babies that wheeze. Findings from Penn State researchers suggest a link between higher levels of BPA in the urine during pregnancy and intermittent wheezing in infants.

Higher levels of bisphenol A, or BPA, in urine samples during pregnancy doubled the odds of a child wheezing. The link was highest when the chemical was present at 16 weeks gestation.

Adam Spanier, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of pediatrics conducted the study that included 367 children of mothers who had BPA in their urine throughout pregnancy. The research then looked at levels of the chemical during certain times of pregnancy, finding higher levels at 16 weeks, but not by 26 weeks, or at birth, was associated with reports of wheezing in infants.

"This suggests that there are periods of time during pregnancy when the fetus is more vulnerable," Spanier said. "Exposure during early pregnancy may be worse than exposure in later pregnancy."

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He suggests better research is needed to help consumers reduce exposure to potentially toxic chemicals. BPA exposure is associated in the newest study to wheezing in infants.

BPA is present in plastics and a wide array of consumer products. In mice, the chemical has been linked to asthma. "Consumers need more information about the chemicals in the products they purchase so they can make informed decisions," Spanier said.

Bisphenol A is present in 90 percent of urine in the US population. Women with higher levels of the chemical in their urine were more likely to have babies who wheeze at age six months, compared to those with lower levels. High levels in the urine at 16 weeks gestation doubled the chances of wheezing in babies.

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