Bisphenol A (BPA) exposure during the pregnancy in women may increase the risk of lung problems in their children.
BPA is a carbon-based synthetic chemical that is used in the production of many plastic and aluminum consumer products such as plastic bottles, CDs, sports equipment and more. Previous studies have suggested that exposure to BPA can also cause respiratory problems such as asthma.
Dr. Adam J. Spanier, of the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, who is also the lead author of the study reveals that BPA exposure during pregnancy is also associated with lung problems, as well as the development of persistent wheeze in children.
"We found that prenatal BPA exposure that occurred during early pregnancy was inconsistently associated with diminished lung function, increased odds of wheeze and a persistent wheeze phenotype in young children. ... If future studies confirm that prenatal BPA exposure may be a risk factor for impaired respiratory heath, it may offer another avenue to prevent the development of asthma," per the authors of the study.
The study involved about 400 mothers and their infants. The research tested the concentration of BPA from the urine samples of the mothers' at 16 and 26 weeks into their pregnancies.
After childbirth, the mothers were asked every six months for the following five years if their child developed wheezing. The researchers also tested the children to find how much they could exhale during a forced breath at age four and five. Urine samples from the children were also tested annually.
The study reveals that the higher BPA concentration found in the urine sample of mothers taken during pregnancy was associated with increased lung problems of their child till age four but not at age five. BPA exposure may upset the lung function of children during early age but the effect may diminish over time.
The authors of the study also suggest that the BPA exposure to children in early childhood was not associated with wheezing or lung problems. In 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration restricted the use of BPA in baby bottles. However, the restrictions were not expanded to other products due to lack of evidence that would support the negative effects of BPA exposure in children during early childhood.
The researchers advise that pregnant women should try their best to reduce exposure to BPA while pregnant.
The study has been published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.