-- Robert Preidt
THURSDAY, Dec. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers who found the
chemical bisphenol A (BPA) in the livers of fetuses say it shows
that there is considerable exposure to the chemical during
They also found evidence that fetuses are less able to eliminate
the chemical from the body than adults.
Previous animal studies have linked BPA, a chemical used in
plastic bottles and metal food and beverage cans, with breast and
prostate cancer, and reproductive and behavioral problems. Some
research in humans has tied BPA to cardiovascular disease,
miscarriage, decreased semen quality and childhood behavioral
The University of Michigan team analyzed the livers of 50 first-
and second-trimester fetuses. They found a wide range of BPA levels
in the livers, with some fetuses showing high levels of exposure,
according to the study, published online Dec. 3 in the
Journal of Biochemical and Molecular Toxicology.
They also discovered that the livers had three times higher
levels of free BPA than the conjugated forms modified by the body
"The finding of free BPA in fetuses is significant," study senior/corresponding author Dana Dolinoy, an assistant professor of environmental health sciences, said in a university news release.
After discovering the elevated levels of free BPA, the
researchers examined the enzymes in the fetuses' livers responsible
for metabolizing the chemical and compared them to those in adults'
"Our research shows that the argument that (BPA is) so rapidly metabolized is not true in fetuses," Dolinoy said.
The researchers say that the internal dose of BPA is critical
for determining ill effects on human health.
BPA gets into the body by ingestion, inhalation and skin
contact. Some scientists believe the chemical may affect metabolism
and play a role in diabetes and obesity.
The U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences has
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