Watch Out For The Hormone Disruptor

As if BPA wasn’t already a chemical that everyone is on the lookout for, researchers have discovered that BPA levels during pregnancy can affect not only mom’s thyroid function, but her baby’s.

Pregnant woman in her nursery

Bisphenol A, the much-maligned chemical that is used in the manufacturing of plastic (more commonly known as BPA), should be on every mom-to-be’s watch list as she purchases items for her new baby -- but she should be avoiding BPA for herself as well.

Thyroid function worries

Your thyroid is an endocrine gland -- it produces hormones which help control how quickly your body uses energy and makes proteins. It also affects how sensitive you are to other hormones. Researchers have found that higher concentrations of BPA in the second and third trimesters can actually affect not only mom’s thyroid function but her baby’s, too.

In moms who had higher levels of BPA, the researchers found a 9.9% reduction in the baby’s thyroid-stimulating hormone -- but only in male babies. And a reduction in thyroxine (one of the hormones the thyroid produces) was noted in the moms.

Conclusions?

As with all research, it needs to be said that absolute conclusions cannot be made from the results. The sample size was small (476 women), for one thing. But BPA has never been shown to be good for humans. It has been used in the manufacture of certain plastics since the 1950s, and it found its way into our homes in food containers, toys and baby bottles. Recent research has led to it being banned for certain items, and Canada has declared it a toxic substance.

Avoid plastics marked with a 7, as they may contain BPA. Better yet, choose non-plastic storage containers for your food and drink, or read the product information -- many companies have gone BPA free and will print that on the packaging.

More on BPA

No more BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups
BPA now considered toxic in Canada
BPA linked to childhood wheezing

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