Research Suggests Pregnant Women Should Not Be Concerned About BPA In a Science 2.0 article, Steve Hentges, PhD, with the American Chemistry Council (ACC), analyzes a 2016 study by French researchers (bit.ly/ FrStudyBPA) on the exposure of pregnant women to more than 100 substances that may be of concern to a developing fetus, including bisphenol A (BPA). The French study found through urine biomonitoring that the majority of women were exposed to BPA, but the study did not address if the exposure levels were safe. However, the median BPA level reported, .75 micrograms/liter, is comparable to results from a large-scale study of pregnant women in 6
Canada and biomonitoring studies in the United Sates. The levels of BPA found in the French study are low when compared to the levels of metals and organic chemicals reported in those studies. Hentges used both exposure data and health effects discovered via a safety or risk assessment to evaluate the safety of BPA. Health effect information describes what “effects can be caused by exposure” to a particular substance—and “at what exposure level the health effects might occur.” Exposure information is used to ascertain whether these exposures are above or below critical levels.
The safety risk assessment used was from a group of Greek scientists who released in late 2016 a peer-reviewed scientific assessment on BPA (bit.ly/ GrkStudyBPA) and concluded that “exposure to BPA does not pose any significant threat according to most realistic exposure scenarios.” Their conclusion is relevant because the Greek study “explicitly included pregnant women.” Their findings are consistent with the conclusions reached by government bodies throughout the world on the safety of BPA. The Greek study calculated a biomonitoring equivalent (BE) based on
the conservative safe intake level for BPA established by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). The BE level represents the estimated concentration of BPA in urine corresponding to BPA at the safe intake level. Applying the BE to the median BPA exposure level in the French study shows the level of exposure is more than 400 times below the BE level. As Hentges notes, that indicates that “not only are the actual French exposure levels safe, but they’re safe with a wide margin of safety.” The Greek scientists also stated “there is no reason for concern based on either individual or aggregate scenarios of BPA exposure.” Another important aspect of the French study is that the urine was monitored for both “unconjugated” and “total” BPA. Unconjugated BPA is BPA itself. It was found at low levels in only 10 percent of the urine samples. Total BPA is a metabolized form of BPA, and it was found in about 74 percent of the urine samples, confirming this important metabolic process occurred in the French pregnant women. Hentges concludes that “since the metabolite is biologically inactive and rapidly eliminated from the body, BPA is not likely to cause health effects at the low exposure levels measured in the study.” For more details, read "Should Pregnant Women Be Concerned About BPA?" at bit.ly/Science20BPA.