According to Health Daily News on Friday, premature babies who spend their first few days of life in the neonatal intensive care unit may be exposed to BPA, a harmful chemical widely used in the manufacture of hard plastics, new research says.
The chemical, bisphenol A (BPA), is used to make many of the ventilators, intravenous lines, catheters and other devices tiny babies need to stay alive in those first critical days.
BPA is believed to be an endocrine disruptor, which means it may interfere with the hormone system in humans. Some research has linked BPA with reproductive and developmental problems, including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.
Last July, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration banned BPA from baby bottles and sippy cups.
Among the 55 infants born to 43 mothers, infants who required 4 or more medical devices had much higher BPA levels than infants who required 3 or fewer devices.
There is controversy about the effect of low-dose BPA exposures because some studies of exposure during vulnerable time periods of child development report effects on behavior and executive function in children and shortened [anal-genital] distance in male offspring.
It is important to note that all plastics used in the NICU were far below the exposures were below the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reference dose (RfD), thedose below which no adverse health effects should result from a lifetime of exposure.