Bisphenol A, more commonly known as BPA, is a chemical used to make food can linings, eye glasses, bike helmets, thermal receipt paper, polycarbonate plastics and many other everyday items.
For years, scientists have warned us about negative health effects of BPA exposure, including the increased risk for breast cancer, prostate cancer, metabolic diseases, decreased fertility, early puberty, neurological problems and immune system dysfunction.
Because of the public outcry in response to these risks, manufacturers were forced to remove BPA from baby bottles and infant formula containers. But a closer look at the science tells us that protecting infants and children is not quite enough. In fact, it is becoming clear that fetal exposure is of even greater concern than childhood exposure to BPA. This means that women who are pregnant or who plan to become pregnant need to make extra efforts to avoid BPA.
BPA reaches fetus through the mother’s bloodstream and the placenta only partially protects the fetus from BPA exposure. It is during the prenatal period that the foundation is set for how our bodies develop. The chemicals that influence the growth of the breasts, reproductive organs and the hormonal system can determine their function even decades later. More to the point, fetal exposure to toxins, especially to endocrine disruptors like BPA, can set the stage for many later life diseases and behavioral abnormalities.
We can do our best to avoid this chemical by not using canned foods or any of the products made with BPA. However, many of us are not aware that we are exposed and the immediate health effects may not be obvious or even seen until the next generation.
If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, specialized lab testing for BPA and other environmental toxin levels in your bloodstream is available. Also, this specialized evaluation of your toxic burden is an integral part of my Pre-Conception Optimization Program at Marin Natural Medicine Clinic.
Avoiding BPA is an investment in our own health, as well as that of future generations.