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Your Environment. Your Health.

BPA Exposure in the NICU

Kaitlin Mendonca, Sc.D., Russ Hauser, Sc.D., M.D.
Simmons College, Harvard School of Public Health
NIEHS Grant P30ES000002

A study, supported in part by the NIEHS, identified medical devices as a potential source of exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) among premature infants in neonatal intensive care units. BPA is used to manufacture polycarbonate plastics, which are used in medical devices such as intravenous administration sets, syringes, and catheters. 

The researchers looked at the urinary BPA concentration for 55 infants and categorized each infant’s medical device use as low or high based on the number and invasiveness of devices. They found that the median urinary total BPA concentration of infants who had required four or more medical devices for three previous days was significantly higher, 36.6 micrograms per liter (µg/l), than for the infants requiring three or less devices, who had a BPA concentration of 13.9 µg/l. The researchers also collected and analyzed breast milk or formula samples, and found that the increased BPA concentration was not associated with the infants’ nutritional intake.


Citation: Duty SM, Mendonca K, Hauser R, Calafat AM, Ye X, Meeker JD, Ackerman R, Cullinane J, Faller J, Ringer S. 2013. Potential sources of bisphenol A in the neonatal intensive care unit. Pediatrics 131(3):483-439.