FRESNO, Calif. -- A new warning about a common chemical is causing concern for many pregnant women. But it's almost impossible to limit exposure to what's called the everywhere chemical because it's in plastics.
Judy Drilling and her family cut back on convenience and went back to the basics, purging plastic from her kitchen and showing her kids how to safely handle glassware.
The Clovis mother decided to stop using plasticware to serve food after 6-year-old Makena began to have health concerns that a family doctor suggested could be linked to common chemicals, such as those found in household plastics. And now, a new study says that concern is growing.
Researchers at Columbia University say mothers who had high exposure to Phthalates and Bisphenol-A or BPA were more likely to have children with asthma.
BPA makes plastic rigid such as baby bottles, while phthalates make plastic flexible, such as sippy cups. Studies have linked the chemicals to cancer, birth defects and reproductive problems. Consumers demanded change and now, there's a wide range of BPA and Phthalate free products on store shelves.
In 2012 the Food and Drug Administration banned the use of BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups, but some consumer protection groups say the law doesn't go far enough because BPA is still used in everyday items like canned food and cash register receipts. One specialist at Valley Children's Hospital says going "BPA free" is fine, but there are more dangerous toxins, right under our noses.
Dr. Robert Sigman said, "Do I think it's an agent to be concerned about? Somewhat. But it's on a long list of agents to be concerned about."
Perinatologist, Dr. Robert Sigman at the Maternal Fetal Center at Valley Children's Hospital, advises women to make careful nutritional and environmental choices while they're pregnant. He says eliminating plastic can help reduce chemical exposure but he says we still need to do more to cut down on the most harmful toxins around us.
Dr. Robert Sigman said, "The things I would be most concerned about are things that we already know: smoking and particulate matter in the air."
Judy is also concerned about what her family breathes in, and uses air purifiers in her home, while also following guidelines to limit exposure to chemicals in plastics, by using glass food containers, choosing products labeled BPA and Phthalate free and not heating plastics in the microwave. Even Makena is following her mother's example, re-arranging her toys like the glassware in the kitchen.
Judy says making changes in her home is making a difference in the health of her children.
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