Back in 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned the use of a chemical called bisphenol A (BPA) in certain consumer products intended for infants, such as baby bottles and infant formula packaging. The agency cited research showing that BPA exposure had been linked to negative health outcomes.
In response, companies began using chemicals like bisphenol S (BPS) and bisphenol F (BPF) instead. However, a recent study suggests that these alternatives may also be dangerous. Researchers from the University of Georgia say that pregnant women exposed to either chemical could have children who have a higher risk of developing high blood pressure.
"Cardiovascular diseases are the leading causes of mortality among men and women. With the new blood pressure guidelines from the American Heart Association, almost half of the United States population -- 45.6 percent -- has hypertension," said study co-author Maryam Hazim Al Mansi. "There may be several reasons for this high prevalence of hypertension in our population, but the effect of contaminants is overlooked and understudied."
Chemical exposure and high blood pressure
The researchers came to their conclusions after conducting a study that measured the effect that BPA, BPS, and BPF had on mice.
The team split a group of pregnant mice into four groups, with each being exposed to low levels of one of the three chemicals or to a non-harmful dose of saline. After the mice gave birth, the researchers tracked and analyzed the offspring to see how their blood pressure was affected.
The team found that offspring who were exposed to any of the three chemicals had a significantly higher blood pressure reading than those who were only exposed to saline. The team says their findings provide evidence that women should be careful about exposing themselves to chemicals like these while pregnant.
"These results suggest that even low-dose exposure to these chemicals can affect blood pressure in the offspring later in life," said co-author Dr. Puliyur S. MohanKumar. "It is important to avoid these exposures during pregnancy."
The full study has been presented at an annual meeting hosted by the Endocrine Society, and it will later be published in the Journal of the Endocrine Society.