Brett Smith for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
Women who are pregnant or a trying to conceive should do their best to avoid bisphenol A (BPA), a common chemical found in dozens of household products.
According to new research presented at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine’s (ASRM) annual conference in Boston, high levels of BPA in the blood were associated with an 80 percent increase in the risk of miscarriage for pregnant women.
“Until further studies are performed, women with unexplained miscarriages should avoid BPA exposure in an effort to remove one potential risk factor,” Stanford University’s Ruth Lathi, who worked on the BPA research, told the Daily Mail.
“There are some simple things that people can do, but it’s impossible to avoid it completely,” Lathi added. “Avoid anything that involves cooking or warming food in plastic as the chemicals leak out of plastic materials at a higher rate at higher temperatures.”
“Avoid canned food, avoid cooking or heating plastic and also avoid touching things that have high BPA resin – something as simple as a cash register receipt which is coded with resin that has BPA in it,” she continued.
A spokesman from the Miscarriage Association told the Daily Mail that the BPA study was too small to draw any concrete conclusions and warned against giving pregnant women one more thing to worry about avoiding. These women are already told to avoid caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, raw eggs and pate.
While the study researchers said they were uncertain why BPA has a connection to higher rates of miscarriage, they theorized that some women could metabolize the substance differently, causing it to stay in the body longer. The research team called for further studies to be conducted immediately.
BPA has been connected to small risk increases related to child development, and has been banned in baby bottles by the European Union.
Linda Giudice, president of ASRM, told The Telegraph that some previous studies have looked at the impact of chemicals on couples having trouble conceiving, but the findings of the new study indicated that BPA could have significant negative effects on a larger group of people than previously thought.
“These studies extend our observations to the general population and show that these chemicals are a cause for concern to all of us,” Giudice said, adding that those looking to minimize their risk should avoid drinking from plastic bottles that are warm to the touch.
“Don’t leave your water bottles in the car in the sun,” she warned. “Studies show that levels of BPA increase by about 1000-fold in the water of a bottle that has been sitting in the sun.”
The other study presented at the conference discovered that high levels of a group of chemicals called phthalates, which are found in plastics and skin-care products, drastically reduces the chances of conception for men.
The research, which included 500 couples and was performed over a 12-month period, discovered that men who tested high for levels of the chemicals showed a 20 percent lower chance of successful conception. The study found no impact on women trying to conceive.