When a woman is expecting, she can typically expect to receive a long list of items her doctor advises against coming into contact with. New research from Stanford University in California might mean that list is about to get a whole lot longer. According to the Daily Mail, new data from the Stanford research shows that there are many more household chemicals increasing a woman's chance of miscarriage than previously believed, and that the increased risk may be anywhere from 50 to 80 percent. These chemicals may also be harmful in baby development.
The main chemical under scrutiny is bisphenol A, better known as BPA. This chemical compound is commonly found in household products such as plastics. As a result, people - and pregnant mothers especially - are advised against storing foods in plastic containers manufactured with BPA. BPA is also found in more that just plastics. The Stanford study listed both canned foods and cash register receipts, CD cases, sunglasses and water bottles as items expecting mothers should be wary of during pregnancy. Even cosmetics and hygiene products, such as deodorant, may contain harmful BPA compounds.
Taking it a step further, these containers should never be used to reheat food in microwaves, according to a report by The Telegraph. Heat reacts to the plastic chemicals in a way that causes them to leak into the foods people consume, which increases the chance of miscarriage in pregnant women. It may also make the process of conception more difficult, both on the part of women and men, according to the news source.
"Until further studies are performed, women with unexplained miscarriages should avoid BPA exposure in an effort to remove one potential risk factor," said lead researcher Ruth Lathi, M.D. "There are some simple things that people can do, but it's impossible to avoid it completely ... Avoid canned food, avoid cooking or heating plastic and also avoid touching things that have high BPA resin – something as simple as a cash register receipt which is coded with resin that has BPA in it."
Despite this warning, household plastics riddled with BPA have become so ubiquitous that many individuals aren't sure what alternatives to use. When choosing which products to buy, look for products labeled "BPA free." Sometimes, however, even products marked "BPA-free" aren't always the best option, according to Mother Earth News. If you're unsure, look at the number on the plastic.
Plastic labeled with the number 3 are made from polyvinyl chloride, which has also been linked to negative health effects. Plastics marked with the number 7 are made from either polycarbonate or "other" materials, neither of which offers the promise of health. Instead, look for plastics that are labeled with the number 2, 4 or 5. Number 2 plastics are made from high-density polyethylene, like the plastic used for opaque milk jugs and cereal box liners. Number 4 plastics are made from low-density polyethylene, and are used in plastic wrap and sandwich bags. Plastics labeled with the number 5 are made from polypropylene (PP), the plastic often used in refrigerated items such as yogurt and margarine containers.
In addition to choosing the right plastics, pregnant women should opt for stovetop cooking rather than using the microwave. Using gloves when handling items like receipts and prescription drugs is also a good idea. Finally, reduce the use of cosmetics and other body products, and speak with a doctor or natural health specialist as to which types are safest for use during pregnancy.
What other items are best avoided during pregnancy? Share your wisdom in the comments section!