Laboratory tests commissioned by Environmental Working Group have, for the first time, detected bisphenol A (BPA), a plastic component and synthetic estrogen, in umbiblical cord blood of American infants.
Nine of 10 randomly selected samples of cord blood tested positive for BPA, an industrial petrochemical produced by the millions of tons annually to make polycarbonate plastics. BPA has been implicated in a lengthening list of serious chronic disorders, including cancer, cognitive and behavioral problems, endocrine system disruption, diabetes, asthma and obesity.
In all, the tests found as many as 232 chemicals in the 10 newborns. While the sample is too small to project national trends, the cord blood supply study, commissioned by EWG has produced hard new evidence that American children are being exposed, beginning in the womb, to complex mixtures of dangerous substances that may have lifelong consequences.
Scientists and health experts are pressing for stronger measures to protect pregnant women and infants from BPA and other environmental pollutants that disrupt the endocrine system. In June 2009, the Endocrine Society, comprised of 14,000 hormone researchers and medical specialists in more than 100 countries, warned that “even infinitesimally low levels of exposure to hormone disruptors may cause endocrine or reproductive abnormalities.
And in November 2009, the American Medical Association approved a resolution that called on the federal government to minimize the public’s exposure to BPA and other endocrine-disrupting chemicals. The measure was advanced by the Endocrine Society, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Environmental Working Group believes that any chemical found in cord blood should be given highest priority for tough regulatory action to protect public health.