If you or someone you know is pregnant, listen up: Like researchers before them that found a link between BPA and harm to the developing brain, scientists have recently demonstrated that the direct transmission of bisphenol A (BPA) from a mother to her developing child via the placenta could negatively impact fetal brain development. In the U.S. the endocrine disrupting chemical BPA*–and its evil twin BPS *(commonly seen on food and product packaging touting it is “BPA Free”)–are not banned and still make an appearance in food and beverage containers (including plastic water bottles and the epoxy coating of metal food cans), personal products, some dental applications and cash register/ATM receipts, among other sources. When mothers-to-be are exposed, both BPA and BPS (from the same chemical family) have been linked to problems with brain development and IQ, and BPA (which has had a much longer period of time to have been studied by scientists) is linked with numerous other health-related problems including IBD, obesity, diabetes, heart problems, asthma/respiratory problems, and reproductive problems, to name a few.
How the placenta responds to toxicants like BPA during pregnancy can lead to long-term health consequences: scientists focused on the role of microRNAs within the placenta, which are known to be key mediators in regulating cellular functions, including neural development, and the identification of certain markers for cancer.
Scientists suspect the microRNAs are playing a role in how the effects of BPA exposure can lead to neurological disorders later in life:
“These microRNAs can be packaged inside extracellular vesicles and can be transported to distant organs within the body. We’re assuming that by changing the pattern of microRNAs in the placenta, these small molecules can then reach the brain, resulting in harmful effects. Even before the brain’s neurons are developed, these microRNA packages may already be guiding fetal brain development. These changes may even be different in female versus male fetuses.”
-Dr. Cheryl Rosenfeld, researcher and professor of biomedical sciences
Avoid highly processed foods–and their containers–including takeout containers at restaurants. Avoid canned foods (especially tomato-based foods which are highly acidic and can cause more BPA/BPS chemicals to leach into the food) and choose fresh food or frozen food instead. Never microwave food in plastic containers–always transfer the food to glass before heating. Throw out old, cracked or yellowed plastic food storage containers. Avoid touching cash register and/or ATM receipts. Talk with your dentist about BPA-Free and BPS-Free alternatives. Never drink from plastic water bottles that have been heated up in the sun, car or other location as BPA and BPS can leach from the bottle into the beverage.
*Our previous publications: Scientific study findings on the health dangers of BPA and BPS:
Journal Reference: Jiude Mao, Jessica A Kinkade, Nathan J Bivens, Cheryl S Rosenfeld. miRNA changes in the mouse placenta due to bisphenol A exposure. Epigenomics, 2021; 13 (24): 1909 DOI: 10.2217/epi-2021-0339