Babies Exposed to Plastic Bottle Chemical BPA in the Womb: Study

New research involving the presence of chemicals in the blood of newborn babies found that 90% of children tested had Bisphenol A (BPA) in their blood. This confirms that unborn children are exposed to the potentially toxic chemical used in hard plastic bottles and other food containers while they are in the womb, leading to calls for more stringent controls on use of the chemical.

The study was funded by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and Rachel’s Network. Umbilical cord blood samples from nine out of 10 babies born in the United States of African American, Asian and Hispanic descent were found to have the plastics chemical.

Bisphenol A, more commonly known as BPA, is a chemical used to make many plastic products hard and shatterproof. Originally developed as a form of synthetic estrogen, it is used in the manufacture of a variety of products, such as bottles, cans, cups, baby bottles and other food containers.

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BPA is suspected of causing hormonal changes by potentially impacting the human endocrine system. It has been linked to cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity and asthma. Other research has suggested that BPA can cause developmental abnormalities and other problems over time in infants and young children.

Previous studies have also found that BPA can leach into the human bloodstream by simply drinking from plastic bottles that contain the substance, leading many retailers, such as Wal-Mart and Toys “R” Us, to voluntarily stop selling baby bottles that contain the BPA chemical. In addition, many of the largest manufacturers of baby bottles, such as Avent, Evenflo, Disney First Years, Platex, Gerber and Dr. Brown, have voluntarily agreed to stop making BPA baby bottles as well.

The new study involved the examination of cord blood from 10 minority infants from five different states between December 2007 and June 2008. The laboratory testing of the blood found 232 chemicals and pollutants in the cord blood. In addition to BPA, which was found in all but one of the samples, testing also found synthetic musks, Galaxolide and Tonalide, in 7-of-10 samples. The synthetic musks are toxic to fish and some studies suggest they cause hormonal changes.

“This study proves newborns are exposed to BPA in the womb,” said Anila Jacob, M.D., Environmental Working Group senior scientist and co-author of the report. “After they are born, they’ll encounter more BPA by drinking from a bottle, drinking canned infant formula and, eventually, eating canned food like ravioli and chicken noodle soup.”

The FDA was scheduled to release a reevaluation of the safety of BPA by November 30. However, the agency missed the deadline. While there has been no updated release date for the reevaluation’s results, FDA officials have said that they expect the report to be released this year.


  • CassandraDecember 8, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    BPA does not "leech" into the blood stream. The Harvard study shows that urinary concentrations of BPA increase upon ingesting it. It doesn't enter the blood stream by definition because it is being metabolized (filtered) by the liver. If this is your understanding of science, all I can say is, God help us!

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