Several studies have found that BPA, a chemical used to create plastics and epoxy resins, can affect hormones such as estrogen, testosterone, thyroid and insulin, which could affect a child’s gestation and early development. Now, a new study, in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, links BPA with low birth weight among baby girls.
Mothers with high blood levels of BPA early in their pregnancy tended to have newborn girls who weighed less than girls born of mothers with low BPA levels, said senior author Vasantha Padmanabhan, a professor of pediatrics and obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Michigan Medical School. For every twofold increase of BPA in a mother’s blood during the first trimester, the weight of their newborn girls decreased by about 6.5 ounces.
Although the study wasn’t designed to prove a cause-and-effect relationship, Padmanabhan said that this is one of the first studies to evaluate mothers’ BPA levels early in the pregnancy, rather than from samples from umbilical cord blood following delivery.
“When you are thinking about fetal development during pregnancy, the early period is very critical, when most of the organs are differentiating,” she said. “We felt if any chemical is going to have an impact, that would be the time point when you should look at associations.”