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Does BPA Cause Food Intolerance?

A new study performed in France suggests that exposure to bisphenol A (BPA), a known endocrine disruptor, around the time of birth may lead to food intolerances later in life, at least in rats. The researchers tested the effects of BPA exposure on a group of rats from birth until the animals were weaned at 21 days old. A control group of rats didn’t receive any BPA. When the animals reached adulthood, (which in rats is when they're 45 days old), the researchers fed them ovalbumin, an egg white protein which hadn’t been introduced into their diet previously. The investigators reported that the rats exposed to BPA earlier in life developed an immune reaction to the milk protein. This didn’t occur in the rats that hadn’t been exposed to BPA. Subsequent, repeated feeding of ovalbumin in the rats exposed to BPA led to colonic inflammation, which the researchers noted is a sign of food intolerance. They said their findings testify to the harmful effects of BPA on the immune system at low levels of exposure, and at a particularly vulnerable stage of fetal and newborn life. They added that the results support a French government decision in 2013 to ban the use of BPA in containers of baby food. The French BPA ban will extend to all food-packaging materials in 2015.

Sandrine Menard and Eric Houdeau et al “Food intolerance at adulthood after perinatal exposure to the endocrine disruptor bisphenol A.” The FASEB Journal, 2014; DOI: 10.1096/fj.14-255380