Moms-to-be, a chemical used in plastic packaging can risk your baby’s health
A chemical used in plastic packaging and in the linings of food and beverage cans may be passed from a mother to her offspring during pregnancy and cause changes in the gut bacteria of the offspring.fitness Updated: Nov 09, 2017 10:53 IST
If you are expecting, you may want to avoid using plastic-packaged products, as according a recent study, a chemical used in them may cause health problems for your offspring. According to the Penn State research, chemical bisphenol A (BPA), used in plastic packaging and in the linings of food and beverage cans, may be passed from a mother to her offspring during pregnancy and cause changes in the gut bacteria of the offspring.
Previous research suggested that exposure to flame retardant chemicals found in furniture and household products during pregnancy could damage the child’s IQ. And a similar study done a few months ago said that exposure to chemicals used to increase flexibility of plastic could increase the risk of allergic asthma in babies.
In a study on rabbits, the researchers observed that exposure to BPA during pregnancy caused chronic inflammation in the offspring’s intestines and liver. The researchers also noted signs of increased gut permeability or leaky gut and a decrease in the diversity of gut bacteria and anti-inflammatory bacterial metabolites, such as short-chain fatty acids, said researcher Jairam KP Vanamala.
Leaky gut and decreased gut-bacteria diversity and metabolites are considered biomarkers or indicators of inflammation-related chronic diseases, he added. The offspring were not directly exposed to BPA, but received exposure to the chemical from their mother through the placenta and in the milk. This exposure may lead to long-lasting health problems, according to the researchers.
In the future, Vanamala said researchers may investigate how the influence of diet and environment during pregnancy could affect long-term health. The researchers used rabbits because of their longer gestation period, which is similar to humans. Rodents have shorter gestation periods, according to Vanamala.
He also suggested that future research may investigate whether there is a relationship between a decrease in gut bacteria diversity and food allergies.
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