This last week has seen an epidemic of scary articles suggesting that it may be dangerous for pregnant women to eat canned food, microwaved food, drink water from plastic bottles left in the sun, and handle cash register receipts.
The alarm was raised after a meeting in Boston USA this week where some recent work on the risk of miscarriage was presented. It presented the results of a study of 114 women , who were already known to have a history of miscarriage and / or infertlity. It found that those women who had high levels of a compound called Bisphenol-A (BPA) were 80 % more likely to miscarry than those who had low or normal levels.
The authors then concluded that it was best to avoid canned, and food microwaved in plastic containers . They also suggested that pregnant women should avoid handling unnecessary cash register receipts, and not to drink from plastic bottles left in the sun. ?We have several comments:-
Firstly, this is the first such study to find such a significant link in humans. However, it was a very small study, of a group of women who already had medical problems, for whatever reason.
Secondly, the findings need to be investigated further before a significant change in advice to pregnant women is suggested.
Thirdly, just how do we humans avoid BPA? It is one of the most important components of plastic and is almost everywhere. Six billion pounds of BPA are produced every year, and it is found in the body fluids and tissues of almost all children and adults. It is an important component of most plastic products, including toys, cars, cans, pipes, spectacles, dental sealants, medical equipment, electronics, air, dust, seawater and tap water.
Until we know more, it seems sensible, as ever, to try and and eat fresh food whenever possible, and as ever, to try and reduce the chances of your food being exposed to plastic . Perhaps avoid plastic in the microwave and avoid drinking water from plastic bottles left in the sun.
But as for cash register receipts? Maybe a good excuse to get your partner to do the food shopping!?