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Drinking Out of Plastic Bottles When Pregnant: Health Risks

Are you still drinking out of plastic bottles? If you’re pregnant you may want to avoid it. A new study shows that use of plastic bottles with BPA could increase the risk of behavior problems in an unborn child.

They’re inexpensive and so versatile, but using plastic bottles could spell trouble when it comes to your health. It turns out the risk of plastic bottles could even be dangerous to an unborn baby. According to a new study published in the Journal of Environmental Health Perspectives, moms-to-be that drink from plastic bottles that contain bisphenol A (BPA)  could give birth to babies prone to behavior problems.

A Study

For this study, researchers took urine samples from 249 pregnant women and measured BPA levels. BPA is found in some plastic bottles that are used for drinking and food storage and is believed to have a variety of harmful health effects including disruption of hormones in the body. After measuring BPA levels at sixteen weeks, twenty-six weeks and at birth, the researchers sent out questionnaires to the mothers when the babies reached two years of age asking about behavior problems. The findings? Babies born to mothers with higher BPA levels in their urine had offspring with more behavior problems.

Use of Plastic Bottles and Behavior in Young Children

In particular, the researchers noted that children born to mothers who had higher BPA levels were more aggressive – particularly girls. They observed that the behavior of these girls was similar to what would be expected of boys at the same age. Can the use of plastic bottles and exposure to BPA actually change the temperament of young children? Not everyone is so convinced. One spokesperson for the American Academy of Family Practice believes that the behavior changes were subtle and could be attributed to other factors.

Other Health Effects of Plastic Bottles Containing BPA

Regardless of the results of this study, use of plastic bottles that contain BPA has fallen under scrutiny and have been blamed for a variety of health problems ranging from obesity to cancer. Studies in animals have shown that BPA can alter hormone levels and sexual development. It’s also been shown to damage DNA in mice. At the very least, use of plastic bottles containing BPA doesn’t appear to be a good idea during pregnancy or any other time.

Alternative to the Use of Plastic Bottles

With so much concern about the use of plastic bottles containing BPA, it’s best to steer clear of them whenever possible. Glass bottles are a safer alternative, but they can be difficult to find. One alternative is to buy fruit juice in a glass bottle from a natural food market and save the bottle to reuse once the juice is gone. If you do use plastic bottles, avoid heating them or pouring hot liquids into them. Don’t reuse them unless they’ve been labeled safe for re-use. Avoid using canned foods since most cans have a plastic liner that can leach into the contents of the can. Don’t give babies or children food or drink in plastic baby bottles or cups. Children may be particularly susceptible to the effects of BPA. If you’re pregnant, avoid drinking out of plastic bottles or eating out of plastic lined cans.

The Bottom Line

There’s more and more data to suggest that the use of plastic bottles containing BPA could pose real health risks. Why take a chance? Switch over to glass whenever possible.

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