Moms Get Plastic, Kids Get Asthma?

Photo by Jason Pratt, Wikimedia Commons


More bad news on the health effects of bisphenol A (BPA), that organic compound used as a building block in many plastics—including in plastic water bottles, food packaging, sunglasses, and CDs.

New experiments on mice at the University of Texas Galveston find evidence that a mother’s exposure to BPA may also increase the odds that her children will develop asthma.

Mice were given BPA in drinking water starting a week before pregnancy at levels calculated to produce a concentration the same as in a human mother. The dosing continued through pregnancy and lactation. Indicators of asthma showed up strongly in the BPA-exposed group, much more so than in the pups of the nonexposed mice.

We know that prior studies have linked BPA exposure to reproductive disorders, obesity, and abnormal brain developmen, as well as breast and prostate cancers. In January the Food and Drug Administration announced its concern about “the potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and young children.”

Lead author of the paper in Environmental Health Perspectives, Terumi Midoro-Horiuti, tells U Texas:

“We also need to look at doing more epidemiological studies directly in humans, which is possible because BPA is so prevalent in the environment—all of us are already loaded with it to a varying extent. For example, it should be possible to determine if children who have more BPA exposure are more likely to develop asthma.”
 

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  • Julia Whitty is the environmental correspondent for Mother Jones. Her latest book is Deep Blue Home: An Intimate Ecology of Our Wild Ocean. For more of her stories, click here.