Neonatal intensive care appears to expose babies to significant levels of BPA

Neonatal intensive care appears to expose babies to significant levels of BPA

Although the level of BPA that may be toxic to humans has not been quantified, babies treated in neonatal intensive care appear to be exposed to relatively larger doses of BPA, according to an interesting, but small study. This exposure may be more harmful due to the limited ability of neonates to detoxify BPA.

A recent study found that newborns in intensive care excrete 17.8 micrograms per liter of BPA, significantly more than the 0.45 microgram/l of healthy infants. The researchers found the level of care afforded neonates indicated the level of BPA exposure. Thus, four or more ICU devices resulted in neonatal urine showing BPA at 36.6 microgram/l. It is of significance that the neonatal ICU unit where the study was done had taken care to avoid BPA containing products whenever possible.

Breathing tubes, intravenous drug delivery lines, and enclosed incubators are plastic, and some types of plastic contain BPA. Several studies have indicated that elevated BPA exposure of neonates can result in behavioral problems and moodiness. Animal studies have linked BPA to the development of feminization in males and the later development of hypertension and diabetes.

Another statistical surprise was that prematurity accounted for 30% of the variability in urinary BPA. One possible explanation may be, as shown in animal studies, youngsters break down BPA very slowly. Thus, if this trait holds for humans, then exposure at a very young age may be more harmful than at an older age.

Studies and conference reports that address these and other potentially adverse impacts from BPA can be found at: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/131/3/483; http://aaas.confex.com/aaas/2013/webprogram/Paper8721.html; http://edrv.endojournals.org/content/33/3/378; http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=182571; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2799471/.