Newswise — New research published today suggests that chemicals commonly used in consumer products are being absorbed by pregnant mothers and their newborns. The study, a collaboration between investigators at The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center® at Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center (Hackensack, NJ) and Rutgers University, appears to be the first study to explore in utero exposure to bisphenol-A (BPA) substitutes and the first U.S. study to test for BPA in maternal/fetal pairs.

The use of BPA has widely been replaced in consumer products in recent years by substitute chemicals BPB, BPE, BPF, BPS, and BPAF. Recent studies have linked these substitutes to similar adverse health outcomes as BPA, including disruption of endocrine pathways in animal and human studies. Investigators from the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute (EOHSI) at Rutgers University created a novel method to detect BPA, BPB, BPE, BPF, BPS, and BPAF in human blood and urine to quantify potential in utero exposures. BPA is a common ingredient in polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins used in products such as food packaging, thermal receipts, and dental sealants. In 2012-2013, the U.S. eliminated BPA from baby bottles and the linings of infant formula cans, often switching to BPA substitutes. Many polycarbonate products, from water bottles to children’s toys, are marketed as “BPA-free” but use BP substitutes that were tested in this study.

The novel testing method was run on 30 paired maternal urine and fetal cord blood samples from mothers undergoing elective Caesarean sections. Ninety percent of mothers and 77 percent of babies tested positive for at least one BP chemical. “These findings are of great concern for our most vulnerable little ones. We must continue to investigate what risks these chemicals pose for moms and babies,” says Lawrence Rosen, MD, integrative pediatrician and one of the paper’s authors.

Additionally, the study showed that 83 percent of mothers tested positive for BPAF, 60 percent for BPS, 57 percent for BPB, 17 percent for BPF and 7 percent for BPA.  Fifty-seven percent of babies tested positive for BPAF and 50 percent for BPF. BPA and BPB were detected in one cord blood sample each. BPS was not detected in cord blood.  BPE was not detected in any fetal cord blood or maternal urine samples. “Identifying how many individuals have measurable levels of a chemical is one way we estimate exposure and this new analytical method was created for just that purpose.  This was the first study to look at BPA alternatives in this population and I look forward to follow-up toxicological studies to get a true understanding of potential risk,” says Brian T. Buckley, PhD, executive director of Laboratories and Administration at Rutgers University’s Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute, who collaborated on the study.  

“We need to protect mothers and newborns from chemical exposures by encouraging moms to avoid exposures whenever practical, such as switching to glass and stainless steel food and beverage containers. Simple steps can make a difference,” says Deirdre Imus, founder and president of The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center® at Hackensack University Medical Center, which sponsored the study.

The study, titled “Application of a novel mass spectrometric (MS) method to examine exposure to Bisphenol-A and common substitutes in a maternal fetal cohort,” was published in Human and Ecological Risk Assessment.

About the Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center® The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center® at Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center represents one of the first hospital-based programs whose specific mission is to identify, control and ultimately prevent toxic exposures in the environment that threaten our children’s health. The mission is accomplished through education, research and implementation.

Our published and active studies explore everyday environmental exposures with the goal of improving public health, one child at a time. Our research is translated into real-world solutions through community outreach, website resources and blogs.

Since 2001, the Center has helped Hackensack University Medical Center become one of the first hospitals in the country to implement green cleaning practices, which was just the beginning of its sustainable journey. Since then, the Center helped the hospital reduce waste, minimize the use of hazardous materials, limit patient and employee exposure to potentially dangerous toxins, prevent pollution, serve healthier foods, and more. To Learn more, visit

About Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center

Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center, a 775-bed nonprofit teaching and research hospital located in Bergen County, NJ, is the largest provider of inpatient and outpatient services in the state. Founded in 1888 as the county’s first hospital, it is now part of one of the largest networks in the state comprised of 28,000 team members and more than 6,000 physicians. Hackensack University Medical Center was listed as the number one hospital in New Jersey in U.S. News & World Report’s 2017-18 Best Hospital rankings – maintaining its place atop the NJ rankings since the rating system was introduced. It was also named one of the top four New York Metro Area hospitals. Hackensack University Medical Center is one of only five major academic medical centers in the nation to receive Healthgrades America’s 50 Best Hospitals Award for five or more years in a row. Becker’s Hospital Review recognized Hackensack University Medical Center as one of the 100 Great Hospitals in America 2017. The medical center is one of the top 25 green hospitals in the country according to Practice Greenhealth, and received 23 Gold Seals of Approval™ by The Joint Commission – more than any other hospital in the country. It was the first hospital in New Jersey and second in the nation to become a Magnet® recognized hospital for nursing excellence; receiving its fifth consecutive designation in 2014. Hackensack University Medical Center has created an entire campus of award-winning care, including: the John Theurer Cancer Center; the Heart & Vascular Hospital; and the Sarkis and Siran Gabrellian Women’s and Children’s Pavilion, which houses the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital and Donna A. Sanzari Women’s Hospital, which was designed with The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center and listed on the Green Guide’s list of Top 10 Green Hospitals in the U.S. Hackensack University Medical Center is the Hometown Hospital of the New York Giants and the New York Red Bulls and is Official Medical Services Provider to The Northern Trust PGA Golf Tournament. It remains committed to its community through fundraising and community events especially the Tackle Kids Cancer Campaign providing much needed research at the Children’s Cancer Institute housed at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital. To learn more, visit