BPA circulates in pregnant women’s blood, and it passes through the placenta the same way alcohol would, she said. It’s also found in amniotic fluid, which cushions fetuses in the womb and provides nutrients for development.
BPA is mass-produced, heavily studied and controversial. Each year about six billion pounds are produced globally and more than one million pounds are released into the environment, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
A synthetic estrogen, BPA has been used as an ingredient in polycarbonate plastics since the 1950s. It also is used to produce resins for the liners of canned foods.
Since BPA is ubiquitous, it’s hard to pin down how people are exposed, but Vandenberg said canned food is a major source.
Currently, 11 U.S. states have banned BPA in some products. In July, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration banned the chemical from baby bottles and sippy cups after manufacturers had already abandoned its use in these products. Earlier this year, the FDA denied a request to ban uses in food packaging but announced that it was "not a final safety determination" because research continues.
This article originally ran at Environmental Health News, a news source published by Environmental Health Sciences, a nonprofit media company.