BPA and Phthalates - Reproductive and Developmental Impacts

Tools to help you talk to your patients about reproductive and developmental impacts from BPA and Phthalates.

Patient Handouts and Education
Image of Phthalates document

Provider Resources

Evidence-based Messaging

Reprinted from the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Vol 207 (6), Sheela Sathyanarayana, MD MPH et al., Environmental exposures: how to counsel preconception and prenatal patients in the clinical setting, pages: 463-470, 2012 with permission from Elsevier.


Key Points

  • Overall, the health impact of phthalates, bisphenol A, and polybrominated diethyl ethers on the developing fetus are not well understood; current research studies will continue to elucidate potential health impacts.
  • Animal studies suggest that prenatal exposure to bisphenol A are associated with obesity, reproductive abnormalities, and neurodevelopmental abnormalities in offspring.
  • Human prenatal phthalate exposure is associated with changes in male reproductive anatomy and behavioral changes primarily in young girls.
  • Human prenatal polybrominated diethyl ethers exposure is associated with changes in prenatal thyroid hormone concentrations, neurodevelopmental abnormalities, and male reproductive tract abnormalities in infancy.
Exposure Reduction
  • We encourage providers to counsel families to prevent endocrine-disrupting chemicals exposure to reduce the potential risk of harm.
  • Overall, women can reduce exposure to phthalates and bisphenol A by (1) reducing the consumption of processed foods, (2) increasing fresh and/or frozen foods, and (3) reducing consumption of canned foods.
  • Avoid the use of plastics with the recycling codes (often found on the outside bottom of containers) #3 and #7 because they can contain phthalates and/or bisphenol A.
  • For polybrominated diethyl ethers, foam items that were bought before 2005 should be inspected; anything that is ripped or breaking down should be replaced.
  • Be careful when removing old carpet because the padding may contain polybrominated diethyl ethers.
  • Use a vacuum machine that is fitted with a HEPA filter to get rid of dust that may contain endocrine-disrupting chemicals.
  • When purchasing new products, ask the manufacturers what type of fire retardants were used.

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