This week I posted an article on the Biome Buzz Facebook page about Australian research that suggests that the more inflammation present in the mother, the more socially impaired her child with autism.[i] This, after last week’s post about how something in the maternal bacterial microbiome leads to a maternal infection affecting her baby’s brain development. Then yesterday I read about an article just published in the American Society for Microbiology’s journal, mSystems, that shows that (in rabbits – and presumably humans) exposure to the toxic chemical, BPA (which is added to many products, including plastic food containers) just before or after birth reduces bacterial microbiome diversity and subsequently, bacterial metabolites, including anti-inflammatory short-chain fatty acids. Exposure to BPA also led to an increase in the toxic bacterial by-product, lipopolysaccharides, which is highly pro-inflammatory.[ii] (In fact, when researchers want to induce inflammatory bowel disease, for example, in animal experiments, they inject them with lipopolysaccharides.) Thus, BPA exposure may well set the infant up for chronic inflammatory disease going forward.
Back last April, I wrote a post called Alex and Autism: His Perfect Storm. I’ll need to update that at some point, and add the above factors. I already mentioned, in that post, that “I already had a long history of immune issues myself and then got the flu.” Now, to boot, once I was told to stop breast feeding him when he was a few days old, I dumped his soy-based formula into BPA-laden plastic baby bottles. The FDA did not ban BPA in bottles and cups until July of 2012. (Alex was born in 1994.) As though all this weren’t enough…what has put me into one of my moods, having just read a New York Times’ article about this ban, was that actually, the FDA apparently still regarded BPA as safe. In the article, an FDA spokesman is quoted as saying that “…the decision did not amount to a reversal of the agency’s position on the chemical. The FDA declared BPA safe in 2008, but began expressing concerns about possible health risks in 2010.” It goes on to say that, “Michael Taylor, deputy commissioner for foods at the agency, said the decision simply codified what the industry was already doing based on the preference of consumers and did not reflect concerns about the safety of BPA in baby bottles or toddler’s cups.”[iii]
Wait…WHAT?! The FDA had concerns about BPA in 2010, but was only banning the substance in infant bottles and cups to mollify consumers?! What am I not getting here?
Is it me?
[ii] Lavanya Reddivari, D. N. Rao Veeramachaneni, William A. Walters, Catherine Lozupone, Jennifer Palmer, M. K. Kurundu Hewage, Rohil Bhatnagar, Amnon Amir, Mary J. Kennett, Rob Knight, Jairam K. P. Vanamala. Perinatal Bisphenol A Exposure Induces Chronic Inflammation in Rabbit Offspring via Modulation of Gut Bacteria and Their Metabolites. mSystems, 2017; 2 (5): e00093-17 DOI: 10.1128/mSystems.00093-17