Exposure to the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) during pregnancy may increase a woman’s risk of weight gain and diabetes later in life, according to new research published in the journal Endocrinology.

Over 100 epidemiological studies have been published linking BPA (a known endocrine disruptor) and human health effects, including reproductive and metabolic disorders. Angel Nadal, PhD, of Miguel Hernández University in Elche, Spain, and colleagues exposed pregnant mice to one of the following: 10μg/kg daily BPA during days 9-16 of gestation, 100μg/kg daily during the same period, and a control group with no BPA exposure. Regular glucose tolerance tests to measure their ability to metabolize sugar were conducted after the mice gave birth.

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Mice exposed to BPA showed signs of impaired glucose tolerance at four months postpartum and had higher glucose levels for 30 minutes following exposure to glucose compared to the control group. The elevated glucose levels in the BPA group persisted for two hours after exposure when the mice were tested six months following delivery. The BPA group also had a significant decrease in beta cell mass, lower levels of insulin secretion and an approximate 3% greater body weight vs. the control group seven months postpartum.

BPA exposure during pregnancy could lead to the overworking of pancreatic beta cells and increase the risk of developing diabetes and other metabolic disorders, the authors conclude.

For more information visit Endocrine.org.