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Healthy note: BPA and miscarriage risk

FILE - This Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012 file photo shows a sculpture made of empty water bottles in Burlington, Vt. New research presented by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine on Monday, Oct. 14, 2013 suggests that high levels of BPA, a chemical in many plastics and canned food linings, might raise the risk of miscarriage in women prone to that problem or having trouble getting pregnant. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)

FILE - This Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012 file photo shows a sculpture made of empty water bottles in Burlington, Vt. New research presented by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine on Monday, Oct. 14, 2013 suggests that high levels of BPA, a chemical in many plastics and canned food linings, might raise the risk of miscarriage in women prone to that problem or having trouble getting pregnant. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File) Purchase photo reprints »

BPA and miscarriage risk

New research suggests that high levels of BPA, a chemical in many plastics and canned food linings, might raise the risk of miscarriage in women prone to that problem or having trouble getting pregnant.

The work is not nearly enough to prove a link, but it adds to “the biological plausibility” that BPA might affect fertility and other aspects of health, said Dr. Linda Giudice, a California biochemist who is president of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

BPA, short for bisphenol-A, and certain other environmental chemicals can have very weak, hormone-like effects. Tests show BPA in nearly everyone’s urine, though the chemical has been removed from baby bottles and many reusable drink containers in recent years. The federal Food and Drug Administration says BPA is safe as used now in other food containers.

Most miscarriages are due to egg or chromosome problems, and a study in mice suggested BPA might influence that risk, said Dr. Ruth Lathi, a Stanford University reproductive endocrinologist.

Researchers analyzed blood samples from when the women were discovered to be pregnant and divided them into four groups based on BPA levels. Women in the top quarter had an 80 percent greater risk of miscarriage compared to those in the bottom group even though they were similar in age and other factors.

To minimize BPA exposure, avoid cooking or warming food in plastic because heat helps the chemical leak out, she said. Don’t leave water bottles in the sun, limit use of canned foods and avoid handling cash register receipts, which often are coated with resins that contain BPA.

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