Despite labels for everything from bottled water to organic foods that claim to be free of BPAs,exposure to these harmful chemicals occurs anyway, according to a new paper published in the Nature Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology.
The information families are given regarding reducing exposure appear to be inadequate, says lead author Dr. Sheela Sathyanarayana, an environmental health pediatrician in the University of Washington School of Public Health and at Seattle Children's Research Institute. She is an assistant professor of pediatrics at the UW School of Medicine and an attending physician at Harborview Medical Center's Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit.
Added Sathyanarayana: "It's difficult to control your exposure to these chemicals, even when you try."
BPAs, or phthalates and bisphenol A, are synthetic endocrine-disrupting chemicals that have been strongly linked to serious health issues, including male reproductive problems and a handful of psychological issues stemming from prenatal exposure.
The study design divided ten families into two groups, half of whom received written instructions developed by the Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units on phthalate and BPA exposure reduction. The other half received a local, fresh, organic food catered diet that was not prepared, cooked or stored in the kinds of plastic containers that would otherwise result in exposure.
Urine tests for phthalates and BPA metabolites shocked investigators, since they were the opposite of what they expected: The urinary concentration for pthalates were 100-fold higher in the catered diet group than found in the general population.
We were extremely surprised to see these results. We expected the concentrations to decrease significantly for the kids and parents in the catered diet group. Chemical contamination of foods can lead to concentrations higher than deemed safe by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.