Bisphenol A (BPA), is a chemical compound, prevalent in numerous substances including polycarbonate plastics used in some food and drink packaging, impact-resistant safety equipment, and medical devices.
A study published in the FASEB Journal shows that there is a link between perinatal exposure to BPA at low doses and a risk of developing food allergies. The research suggests that BPA acts by priming the immune system to an allergic response.
“Food contributes over 80 percent of the population’s exposure to BPA,” said Sandrine Menard, Ph.D., a researcher involved in the work from the Department of Neuro-Gastroenterology and Nutrition at INRA in Toulouse, France. “On the basis of the susceptibility to food intolerance after perinatal exposure to BPA, these new scientific data may help decisions by public health authorities on the need of a significant reduction in the level of exposure to BPA in pregnant and breastfeeding women, to limit the risk for their children of adverse food reactions later in life.”
The study involved two groups of pregnant rat models. The first group received BPA orally every day at a dose of 5 µg/kg of body weight/day, from gestational day 15 to day 21 of lactation, when pups were weaned. The second group (control) was daily treated throughout the same period with the BPA vehicle only. After weaning, offspring were kept untouched until adulthood, at day 45. At this age, only offspring female rats from each group were used. In animals perinatally exposed to BPA, feeding with a new food protein (ovalbumin) induced an exacerbated immune response toward ovalbumin, which was not observed in control rats. Fepeated oral administration of ovalbumin in the BPA-exposed rats induced colonic inflammation, suggestive of food intolerance, not observed in control animals.
“We may look back one day and see BPA exposure as one of the more important public health problems of our time,” said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal. “We know that too much exposure is bad, but exactly how much exposure is too much is still up for debate.”
S. Menard, L. Guzylack-Piriou, M. Leveque, V. Braniste, C. Lencina, M. Naturel, L. Moussa, S. Sekkal, C. Harkat, E. Gaultier, V. Theodorou, E. Houdeau. Food intolerance at adulthood after perinatal exposure to the endocrine disruptor bisphenol A. The FASEB Journal, 2014; 28 (11): 4893 DOI: 10.1096/fj.14-255380