Unwarranted chemical fears leach into the delivery room

Related articles

The precautionary principle has given birth to fears that infants delivered via Cesarean section or with the aid of forceps are at risk of phthalate and bisphenol A (BPA) contamination. At least those are the findings of a something like a study published Tuesday in France s Health Watch Institute publication, Weekly Epidemiological Bulletin (Bulletin Epidemiologic Hebdomadaire). The study authors screened about 280 urine samples and observed 500 births, then concluded that the bisphenol A (BPA) from urine bags and the phthalates from medical equipment are present in higher concentrations in women who do not give birth naturally. They also assert that BPA and phthalates, found in plastics, are endocrine disruptors that can affect child development and reproduction.

Astounded that these tired fears are leaching into the reputation of plastic medical equipment, ACSH's Dr. Elizabeth Whelan questions the safety of alternatives for these important plastic components. Nobody even questions the safety record of these BPA- or phthalate-free substitutes, she observes. There is no scientific backing to these claims. Just because a chemical is present in the body at a higher concentration doesn t mean it s unsafe. And the study did not correlate these urine concentrations with birth outcomes. Perhaps instead of calling on more toxicologists to discuss these issues, we need to recruit more psychiatrists because the needless fear of chemicals that seems to be permeating people s lives is clearly a psychological issue exacerbated by irresponsible studies that are sensationalized by the media.