Plastic and BPA. We can’t seem to get away from it. But perhaps we should, especially if you’re pregnant. Bisphenol a (BPA) is an organic compound found in food packaging, plastic bottles, the lining of cans, baby bottles and even dental fillings. It has been around for more than 40 years and has generated safety issues in the past regarding consumer exposure.  Why? Because it is an endocrine disrupter which means that it can interfere with the human body’s hormone or endocrine system. These disruptions can cause cancer, birth defects and learning disabilities. Any system in the body that’s controlled by hormones can be damaged. BPA can even mimic the body’s own hormones, specifically estrogen.

A recent article in USA Today quoted a medical study that states girls exposed to high levels of BPA before birth are at greater risk for behaviors such as anxiety, depression and hyperactivity by age 3. Boys’ behavior is not affected by exposure to BPA according to the study that states 244 Cincinnati mothers and their 3 year olds were tracked looking at behavioral problems. Mothers with high levels of BPA in their urine reported their daughter’s significant problems. Although the federal government has previously maintained that low doses of BPA were safe, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) is now taking a closer look at the possibility of harmful effects through additional research. It is also recommending that the plastics industry stop putting BPA in infant bottles and feeding- cups. The National Institute of Health (NIH) has invested $30 million dollars to perform further research. This should give us all reason to pause.

In light of the above, pregnant women should read labels carefully and avoid all products that contain BPA. In addition, according to the FDA, plastic containers have recycle codes on the bottom. In general, plastics that are marked with recycle codes 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6 are very unlikely to contain BPA.  Some, but not all, plastics that are marked with recycle codes 3 or 7 may be made with BPA.

Additional information regarding BPA may be obtained at this Center for Disease Control (CDC) website http://www.cdc.gov/exposurereport/BisphenolA_FactSheet.html.

Remember, a healthy pregnancy doesn’t just happen. It takes a smart mother who knows what to do.