(HealthDay News) – The levels of bisphenol A (BPA) in the urine of premature infants in the neonatal intensive care unit is associated with greater exposure to medical devices, but not with nutritional intake, according to a study published online Feb. 18 in Pediatrics.

Susan M. Duty, MSN, ScD, from Simmons College in Boston, and colleagues measured BPA levels in the urine of 55 premature infants in the neonatal intensive care unit, before and after feeding, and in breast milk or formula from their mothers. The infants’ use of medical devices was also determined.

The researchers found that total BPA concentrations were similar in breast milk and formula, and median urinary total BPA concentrations were also similar in the infants’ urine before and after feeding. However, infants exposed to four or more medical devices in the past three days had significantly higher median urinary total BPA than infants exposed to ≤3 devices (36.6 vs. 13.9µg/L). The authors note that these BPA concentrations are 16- to 32-fold higher than those found among infants and children in the general population, but are below the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reference dose.

“The number of medical devices used in the past three days, but not nutritional intake, was positively associated with exposure to BPA,” Duty and colleagues conclude.

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