A new study shows bisphenol A can cross the placenta and get into the developing livers of fetuses. Even more importantly, 80 percent of the BPA measured in the fetal livers was the more active type of BPA — free BPA — which is thought to cause health effects. Results from one of the first studies of its kind show the fetal livers had higher levels than adult livers. The chemical is found in food can linings, some thermal paper receipts and polycarbonate plastics.
Fetuses may be exposed to much higher doses of the more harmful free BPA variety than adults. This may be a result of differences in the way adult and fetal livers function.
The results are important because exposure to BPA during critical developmental stages may alter fetal development and have health effects later in life.
The study is the first attempt to identify possible mechanisms that may result in higher fetal exposures to BPA. Surprisingly, levels of free BPA were much higher in the fetal liver tissues than adult controls or what is typically measured in adult blood or urine.