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Pregnant women warned of plastic packaging

Pregnant women should avoid eating food that has been heated or reheated in plastic containers, and drinking from water bottles that have sweltered in the sun. That suggestion comes from the results of yet another study about the possible effects of the chemical bisphenol-A (BPA) that is present in a great many manufactured products including food and beverage cans and containers.

The most recent study, conducted by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and presented at its annual conference in Boston on Monday, involved a group of 115 women, all newly pregnant and all with histories of miscarriage and/or infertility. The women were divided into four groups based on the level of BPA in blood samples taken shortly after conception.

Of the 115, 68 women miscarried before term, the rest gave birth successfully. 80% more of those with the highest levels of BPA miscarried than those in the group with the lowest levels, though age and other factors were similar in all groups. The results are not conclusive by any means, but the BPA factor may influence or be influenced by other factors, says lead researcher Dr. Ruth Lathi.

The report stated that these findings are not cause for alarm, though considerable coverage has been given to the ‘plastic scare’. Scientists point out that BPA is present in just about everyone’s blood and urine; it’s almost impossible to avoid. At this point the FDA (federal Food and Drug Administration) is satisfied that the chemical is safe for public use; BPA has been removed from baby bottles and from some reusable drink containers in the last couple of years.

Dr. Lathi said that most miscarriages are caused by problems with eggs or chromosomes, and BPA might exacerbate the risk factor in women who are already at risk for other factors. She notes that these women should avoid eating or drinking from heated plastic containers (heat allows the chemical to leak out faster) and handling cash register receipts (often coated with resins containing BPA). Most scientists and researchers agree that much more study is needed to confirm the relative risk involved with BPA and human reproductive function.




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