A small study conducted for the Environmental Working Group found the presence of 232 chemicals, including bisphenol A, in the umbilical-cord blood of 10 babies of African-American, Asian and Hispanic descent.
But the study does not provide enough information about the levels of those chemicals to determine what type of health risk they might pose.
While the sample is too small to project national trends, [the study] has produced hard new evidence that American children are being exposed, beginning in the womb to substances that could pose health risks with lifelong consequences, EWG said.
The study only provided the geometric mean and the range for the amount of the chemicals that were found in the cords, which is not enough to evaluate whether there is any health risk, said Steve Hentges, executive director of the polycarbonate/BPA global group of the American Chemistry Council in Arlington, Va.
In addition, the study failed to note whether the researchers found BPA itself or BPA metabolites, he said.
The mere presence of BPA does not mean there is a health risk, Hentges said. It is an interesting study but I'm not sure what you can surmise. I don't consider this high-value data.
He also cited the limited sample size 10 infants in five states.
EWG said further research is called for, government bodies should take regulatory action and industry should bear the cost.
In our view, any chemical found in cord blood should be a top candidate for tough regulatory action to protect public health, EWG said in its executive summary.
A number of laboratory studies have linked BPA a synthetic estrogen used in plastics production to birth defects, low birth weight, cancer, early puberty and other health problems in rats. However, 11 safety agencies around the world have said BPA is safe for use in food-contact applications.
The European Union has established a safe level of BPA exposure that is at 1,000 times higher than the typical amount of BPA in the general population, based on biomonitoring data from the CDC.
The Food and Drug Administration is currently reviewing BPA safety.
The FDA recently missed a Nov. 30 deadline that it had set for determining whether to change its long-held stance that there is not enough data to support a ban on the use of BPA in food packaging in particular, baby bottles.
Connecticut, Minnesota, Chicago and Suffolk County, N.Y., have banned the sale of PC baby bottles, food containers and cups that contain BPA.
The Suffolk County ban went into effect in July. The Minnesota ban goes into effect Jan. 1; the Chicago ban, Jan. 31; and the Connecticut ban, Oct. 1, 2011.
Connecticut's ban also applies to infant formula cans and reus-able food/beverage containers.
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