Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Dramatic Devices? Medical Procedures May Expose Infants to BPA

Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Dramatic Devices? Medical Procedures May Expose Infants to BPA

Article excerpt

The industrial chemical bisphenol A (BPA) is widely used to make polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins. Low-level exposure to BPA has been shown to cause endocrine disruption in animal experiments, resulting in abnormal development of the prostate and mammary glands, among other adverse outcomes. Interpreting these studies with regard to human health has generated substantial debate, one heightened by growing awareness of the widespread nature of BPA exposure. In this report, researchers describe substantial exposure to BPA and other potential endocrine disruptors through medical treatment of premature infants [EHP 117:639-644; Calafat et al.].

In an earlier study by the same group [EHP 113:1222-1225 (2005)], urine samples were collected from 54 premature infants in neonatal intensive care units at two institutions. The infants required medical interventions such as ventilation, enteral feeding, parenteral feeding, and indwelling catheterization. Some of the medical devices used in these procedures contained the plasticizer di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), and urine sample analysis revealed that concentrations of DEHP metabolites correlated with the relative intensity (low, medium, or high) of medical device use--that is, the variety, invasiveness, and duration of the procedure(s) that each infant underwent.

In the current study, the team used some of those same urine samples to assess exposure to several other potential endocrine disruptors, including BPA, the antimicrobial triclosan, the preservatives methyl paraben and propyl paraben (found in personal care products), and benzophenone-3, a sunscreen agent. …

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