The new study that was mainly funded by National Institutes of Health now joins the mass of other studies showing the affect of the chemical on the reproductive organs of animals. Although the FDA has stated that it is safe to use product's with BPA in them, they have decided to look in to it again under the new administration.
"The big mystery is how does exposure to this estrogen-like substance during a brief period in pregnancy lead to a change in uterine function," said study co-author Hugh Taylor, MD, professor and chief of the reproductive endocrinology section at Yale University School of Medicine.
To find the answer to that question, Taylor and his co-workers at Yale injected pregnant mice with a low dose of BPA on pregnancy days 9 to 16. After the mice gave birth, the scientists analyzed the uterus of female offspring and extracted DNA.
They found that BPA exposure during pregnancy had a lasting effect on one of the genes that is responsible for uterine development and subsequent fertility in both mice and humans (HOXA10). Furthermore, these changes in the offspring's uterine DNA resulted in a permanent increase in estrogen sensitivity. The authors believe that this process causes the over expression of the HOXA10 gene in adult mice that they found in previous studies.
The permanent DNA changes in the BPA-exposed offspring were not apparent in the offspring of mice that did not receive BPA injection (the controls). This finding demonstrates that the fetus is sensitive to BPA in mice and likely also in humans, Taylor said.
"We don't know what a safe level of BPA is, so pregnant women should avoid BPA exposure," Taylor said. "There is nothing to lose by avoiding items made with BPA—and maybe a lot to gain."
There are multiple products that use BPA in them, from baby bottles to the lining in metal cans, but over 150 studies have shown that the minute traces that are consumed by the consumers can be harmful to there health.
This article was written with the help of material obtained at EurekAlert.