Could infant exposure to BPA cause food intolerance in adulthood?
A group of French researchers believe they’ve discovered the first link between the two.
Scientists at INRA, The French National Institute for Agricultural Research conducted their research on gestating and newborn rats, studying a group that was exposed to BPA in utero and during suckling and a group that was not. In adulthood, about 45 days (life moves fast when you’re a rodent), the rats were fed ovalbumin, an egg white protein, which had not previously been included in their diet. The BPA-exposed rats developed an immune reaction to the ovalbumin, including colonic inflammation. They tested the reaction using several different doses of BPA. The dose that caused the most dramatic reaction in the rats’ immune system was the dose considered to be risk-free in humans by the European Food Safety Authority, according to an INRA press release.
The research has been published in the FASEB (Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology) Journal and was mentioned on sciencedaily.com.
BPA, which has been around since 1891, was first used as a synthetic estrogen in the 1930s. In the '50s, manufacturers started adding the substance to hard plastics. BPA is now found in hard plastic bottles, food and beverage cans and cash register receipts. The chemical has been linked to altered toddler behavior, miscarriage, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and erectile dysfunction, and also early puberty
In 2012 the FDA banned the use of BPA in baby bottles, however the Environmental Working Group called the ban "purely cosmetic" and "If the agency truly wants to prevent people from being exposed to this toxic chemical associated with a variety of serious and chronic conditions it should ban its use in cans of infant formula, food and beverages." However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has said that BPA is safe at the very low levels that occur in some foods.
French authorities banned the use of BPA in containers used for infant foods and in all food packaging materials beginning in 2015. Congress is considering doing the same.