Laboratory tests commissioned by the Environmental Working Group have detected bisphenol A (BPA), a plastic component and synthetic estrogen, in umbilical cord blood of American infants.
Nine of 10 randomly selected samples of cord blood tested positive for BPA, an industrial petrochemical.
BPA has been implicated in a lengthening list of serious chronic disorders, including cancer, cognitive and behavioral impairments, endocrine system disruption, reproductive and cardiovascular system abnormalities, diabetes, asthma and obesity.
In all, the tests found as many as 232 chemicals in the 10 newborns, all of minority descent. The cord blood study has produced hard new evidence that American children are being exposed, beginning in the womb, to complex mixtures of dangerous substances that may have lifelong consequences.
And in a separate study, researchers found that complications of pregnancy, such as preterm labor, preterm birth, and infection were lowest in women with the highest vitamin D levels.
Blood levels of activated vitamin D usually rise during very early pregnancy, and some of it crosses the placenta to bathe the fetus, especially the developing fetal brain, in activated vitamin D. But many -- in fact most -- pregnant women do not make as much vitamin D as they need.
4,000 IU of vitamin D per day during pregnancy was found to be safe (not a single adverse event). However, this amount only resulted in a mean vitamin D blood level of 27 ng/ml in the newborn infants, indicating that even 4,000 IU per day during pregnancy is not enough.