67. Associations between Maternal Exposure to Bisphenol A or Triclosan and Gestational Hypertension and Preeclampsia: the MIREC Study (lay summary)

Camara LR, Arbuckle TE, Trottier H, Fraser WD. American Journal of Perinatology. 2019 Sep;36(11):1127-1135. doi: 10.1055/s-0038-1676489

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical that is used in the manufacture of polycarbonate plastics and in paperboard packaging, adhesives, and thermal receipts.  BPA can also be found in epoxy resins used to line metal food and beverage cans.  Triclosan is used to preserve materials such as textiles, leather, paper, plastic and rubber, and as an anti-bacterial and anti-fungal agent in a number of cosmetics and personal care products, including non-prescription drugs and natural health products.  Most Canadians have detectable levels of BPA and triclosan in their urine, including pregnant women in the MIREC Study.

Gestational hypertension is defined as having high blood pressure which starts after the 4th month of pregnancy (20 weeks).  Preeclampsia occurs when there is both high blood pressure and a high level of protein in the urine after 20 weeks of pregnancy.  In Canada in 2010-2011, approximately 46 women out of 1,000 giving birth had gestational hypertension (4.6%).  During the same time period, approximately 11 women per 1,000 (1.1%) had preeclampsia.

There has been little research on potential associations between bisphenol A (BPA) or triclosan exposure and hypertension in pregnancy, and what has been reported has been inconclusive.  The aim of this research was to examine associations between levels of BPA and triclosan in mother’s urine and their risk of having gestational hypertension or preeclampsia.

Levels of BPA and triclosan were measured in first trimester urine of pregnant women from the MIREC Study.  Their blood pressure was measured during each trimester, as well as the amount of protein in their urine.

Among 1,875 women participating in MIREC, 129 (6.8%) had gestational hypertension, 58 (3.0%) had preeclampsia and 58 (3%) had chronic hypertension.   BPA or triclosan levels in maternal urine were not associated with the risk of developing gestational hypertension or preeclampsia.   However, among women having their first baby, higher levels of triclosan in urine were associated with an increased risk of gestational hypertension.

More research studies are needed to confirm whether similar results will be observed in other populations of pregnant women, or whether there are other explanations for these results.

This work was led by a graduate student at the University of Montreal.