Food and Behaviour Research

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20 January 2015 - ScienceDaily - BPA exposure during pregnancy causes oxidative stress in child, mother

Exposure to the endocrine-disrupting chemical bisphenol A (BPA) during pregnancy can cause oxidative damage that may put the baby at risk of developing diabetes or heart disease later in life, according to a new study.

Bisphenol A is a chemical used to manufacture plastics and epoxy resins. BPA is found in a variety of consumer products, including plastic bottles, food cans and cash register receipts.

Oxidative stress occurs when the body is exposed to high levels of free radicals -- highly reactive chemicals that have the potential to harm cells when the body processes oxygen -- and the body cannot neutralize the chemicals quickly enough to correct the imbalance.

"This study provides the first evidence that BPA exposure during pregnancy can induce a specific type of oxidative stress known as nitrosative stress in both the mother and offspring," said the senior author, Vasantha Padmanabhan, MS, PhD, of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI. "Oxidative stress is associated with insulin resistance and inflammation, which are risk factors for diabetes and other metabolic disorders as well as cardiovascular disease."