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BPA 11 times higher in newborns than adults - infants lack enzyme to metabolize this EDC

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  • Teresa binstock
    BPA may pose greater threat to newborns Toxic substance that mimics estrogen may linger longer in babies than in adults, researchers find MARTIN MITTELSTAEDT
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 1, 2009
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      BPA may pose greater threat to newborns

      Toxic substance that mimics estrogen may linger longer in babies than in
      adults, researchers find

      >From Tuesday's Globe and Mail
      February 24, 2009 at 9:42 AM EST

      Bisphenol A, the controversial chemical used to make plastic, lingers
      far longer in the bodies of babies who ingest it than in adults because
      they lack a crucial liver enzyme needed to break it down, according to
      researchers at the University of Guelph.

      The finding prompted one of the researchers to recommend that parents
      try to make sure their babies have no exposure to bisphenol A, and that
      pregnant women minimize what they ingest to protect their developing

      Len Ritter, professor at the university's department of environmental
      biology and the study's lead author, said infants "do appear to have
      significantly greater levels ... up to 11 times higher [than adults].
      That's not trivial."

      The study, published in Environmental Health Perspectives, is likely to
      put further pressure on Health Canada to step up its efforts to control
      bisphenol A (also known as BPA), a synthetic compound that has raised
      concerns because it mimics estrogen.

      Bisphenol A is used to make polycarbonate and the linings of most food
      and beverage cans. It is also an additive in many types of plastic.
      Because it is not tightly bound in consumer packaging, trace amounts can
      leach into food and drinks.

      Last year, the federal agency added the chemical to Canada's
      toxic-substances list and announced a ban on plastic baby bottles made
      from it, the first country in the world to take such actions.

      Health Canada also said it wanted infant formula makers to minimize the
      amounts seeping out of can linings, but neither the companies nor the
      government have finalized control measures.

      Health Canada said in a statement in response to questions from The
      Globe and Mail that it met last month with the U.S. Food and Drug
      Administration, infant formula makers and canning companies to develop a
      North American approach to the reduction of BPA in food products.

      Health Canada believes pregnant women don't need to reduce their
      exposure, but said in the statement that pregnant or breastfeeding women
      with concerns can reduce exposure by using non-polycarbonate plastic
      containers to heat foods or using alternatives such as glass or
      stainless-steel containers.

      Many researchers are worried that through exposure to BPA, people are
      getting what amounts to an extra dose of estrogen. Animal experiments
      have found the chemical is associated with hormonal conditions, such as
      earlier onset of sexual maturity in females, and breast cancer,
      particularly when exposure occurs during fetal or neonatal periods.

      In the new study, Dr. Ritter used models based on animal and human
      experiments to estimate how long it would take babies to clear the
      chemical from their bodies, compared with adults, when both were given
      equivalent doses, adjusted for their differing body weights.

      Adults have a well-developed capacity to metabolize BPA into a harmless
      form that is quickly excreted in urine. Dr. Ritter said this capacity
      isn't fully developed in newborns, allowing BPA to build up in their
      blood to 11 times what an adult would have.

      Infants gradually gain the ability to detoxify BPA, and by three months
      would still have about double adult levels of the chemical, he said.

      Researchers don't know precisely when infants gain a fully developed
      capacity to metabolize BPA.



      PCBs alter rat hormones, organs in two generations.
      27 February 2009

      A PCB mix altered reproductive hormones and organ growth in two
      generations of female rats that were never directly exposed to the
      chemicals themselves. The abnormalities worsened in the
      granddaughters when compared to the daughters. The worst effects
      were seen at the mid -- not the highest or lowest -- level tested.
      Levels were within the range of human exposure.



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