Chemical BPA possibly tied to increased miscarriage risk
Written by Alyssa Clark
BPA is a commonly-used chemical additive to frequently used plastic items, such as plastic water bottles or canned food linings. However, a recent study has found that there was a possible connection between the increase in the miscarriage rate or ability to get pregnant in women who were found to commonly incorporate those products into their diet.
Researchers and scientists do not have enough concrete evidence to suggest that there is a direct link between the BPA and an increased miscarriage/trouble getting pregnant rate, but the phrase “the biological plausibility” has been used to show the correlation. Researchers will say that there is a “biological plausibility” that BPA affects fertility and other aspects of female health. Dr. Linda Giudice is a California biochemist and president of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, who presided over the conference in Boston which announced this study. It was only last month that the big concern surrounding reproductive health were environmental chemicals and their potential hazards for expecting mothers, and now with this latest study, tensions are shifting.
"It may be that women with higher BPA levels do have other risk factors" for miscarriage that might be amplified by BPA, Lathi said. The study is not cause for alarm, but "it's far from reassuring that BPA is safe" for such women, she said.
BPA stands for bisphenol-A and has the effects of other environmental chemicals producing weak, hormone-typical effects. Samples of BPA have been removed from millions of everyday objects throughout the years (such as baby bottles and water bottles), and can be found is nearly everyone’s urine. The FDA has not yet put any sort of limitations on the plastic manufacturing companies or the chemical itself— yet. The FDA says the products and chemical are safe in their doses in food containers.
Reproductive Endocrinologist Dr. Ruth Lathi, of Stanford University suggested a study in mice that pointed to the possibility of how BPA might influence miscarriages. Upon receiving a federal grant, she researched 115 newly pregnant women who all had experienced a history of infertility or miscarriage, and the results were 68 ended up actually having miscarriages and 47 had healthy, live births.
The surveyed women’s blood samples were analyzed after being divided into four groups based on their respective BPA levels in their bloodstream. The top quarter of the survey were the women who had the highest registered BPA levels, and the study found that these women were at an 80 percent greater risk of miscarriage than those in the lower tiers of BPA levels. Due to the study being on the smaller side, there was a larger range of risk from one slightly elevated to as much as 10 times higher.
There are ways to combat BPA exposure: avoid cooking or warming food in plastic containers (the heat helps the chemicals to leak out), don’t leave water bottles in the sun, limit the use of canned foods and avoid handling cash register receipts which are heavily coated in resins which contain BPA.
About the Author
Alyssa Clark is the Editor of Healthcare Global