University Of Idaho Researchers Find Common Chemical Changes Fetal Monkey Genes

Mar 10, 2014

Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The chemical BPA, or bisphenol A, is commonly found in plastics, soup cans, and store receipts. Scientists continue to study how the chemical affects people. New research from the University of Idaho may sound a cautionary note for humans. 

Gordon Murdoch is an associate professor of physiology at the University of Idaho. He focused on fetal heart development in rhesus monkeys.

For the study, pregnant monkeys were fed fruit containing BPA. “Our question was did it affect the genes in the fetal heart?” he asked, “And to our surprise and dismay, it did.”

Those genetic changes in monkey hearts could signal later heart problems in the animals.

Monkeys are not people, but the study still gave Murdoch pause. “While our study gave us cause for concern that this might result in long-term adverse effects to developing hearts in humans, that still has to be tested.”

Murdoch says he’s not only a researcher, he’s also a father.  He says there are ways a family can reduce exposure to BPA. “Instead of eating canned vegetables, eat fresh or frozen vegetables. Maybe avoiding purchasing receipts, receipts are coated with BPA. That would be another way.”

Murdoch says more research still needs to be done, to see how BPA may affect the human heart.

The study was published in the journal Plos One.

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