First results from study on pregnant women's exposure to BPA and phthalates are published

Results fill an important data gap and lay the foundation for future research

OTTAWA, June 19, 2014 /CNW/ - Today, Health Canada published the first results from the Maternal-Infant Research on Environmental Chemicals (MIREC) Study that examined phthalate and Bisphenol A (BPA) exposure among pregnant Canadian women.

The results of the study are significant. They provide much-needed information on the levels of phthalates and BPA present in one of our most susceptible subpopulations, pregnant women, as well as a basis for continued monitoring.

The presence of BPA and phthalates in pregnant women is not unexpected. This study found a lower average BPA concentration in urine, and a lower percentage of women with detectable levels of BPA in their urine, than those observed in women of reproductive age surveyed in a Canadian national population-based survey. The reason for the observed differences is not yet known, but there may be population differences between the subjects in the two studies that may have contributed to the different results.

The MIREC study is a key deliverable under the Government of Canada's Chemicals Management Plan, which strengthens efforts to help protect Canadians' health and environment from the risks of harmful chemicals. The study, which is hosted at Sainte-Justine Hospital in Montreal, is co-funded by Health Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment.

Quick Facts

  • Reducing exposure to harmful environmental chemicals such as BPA and phthalates is something that this Government takes very seriously.  In 2010, Canada was the first country in the world to prohibit the manufacturing, importing, advertising, or sale of polycarbonate baby bottles that contain BPA.

  • BPA and Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) are both included on Health Canada's list of prohibited and restricted cosmetic ingredients.

  • In 2010, Health Canada introduced the Phthalates Regulations that restrict the use of six phthalates in toys and child care articles in order to limit exposure to children and infants.

  • Health Canada continues to place a high priority on the timely evaluation of pre-market submissions for BPA-free can coatings. A number of BPA-free can coatings have been assessed by Health Canada and deemed acceptable for packaging liquid infant formula. These are now widely available on the market.

  • In 2012, Health Canada updated its assessment of BPA exposure from food sources, which provided a more refined and detailed estimate of dietary exposure to BPA in Canada. Based on the overall weight of evidence, Health Canada continues to conclude that dietary exposure to BPA through food packaging is not expected to pose a health risk to the general population, including newborns and young children.

Associated Links

Maternal-Infant Research on Environmental Chemicals (MIREC) Study
Harper Government Takes Action to Reduce Children's Exposure to Phthalates
Government of Canada actions to reduce exposure to BPA
The Government of Canada's Chemicals Management Plan

SOURCE: Health Canada

For further information:


Health Canada
Media Relations
(613) 957-2983

Public Inquiries:
(613) 957-2991
1-866 225-0709

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