Maternal awareness of BPA: Divergence of knowledge and avoidant behaviors depends on fertility status

Program: Abstracts - Orals, Featured Poster Presentations, and Posters
Session: SUN 366-382-Physiological Impacts of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals
Sunday, June 16, 2013: 1:45 PM-3:45 PM
Expo Halls ABC (Moscone Center)

Poster Board SUN-380
Samantha Butts*1, Danielle Purkiss2, Arjun Prabhu2, Shanaye Jeffers3, Marisa Bartolomei4 and Christos Coutifaris5
1Univ of Pennsylvania Hosp, Philadelphia, PA, 2Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, 3Perelaman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, 4University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, 5Hosp of Univ of PA, Philadelphia, PA
Objective: To compare awareness of Bisphenol A (BPA) in women with and without infertility attempting to conceive.   We hypothesized that women with infertility seeking in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment had a heighted awareness of BPA and its potential risks and were more likely to engage in behaviors to limit BPA exposure during the periconception window.   

Design:  Cross sectional survey of women enrolled in an study of preconception and in utero maternal exposures and neonatal markers of growth. 

Methods:  Study participants were asked to complete a brief nutritional survey at baseline, administered by a trained study personnel.  Survey questions queried patients on whether they had ever heard of BPA and its potential risks and aimed to capture behaviors that might impact exposure to the chemical.  A Likert scale was used to characterize frequency of behaviors that could modify exposure to BPA; subjects quantifying relevant behaviors as “2-3 times per week” or “daily” were considered frequently engaging in behaviors that could enhance BPA exposure. Chi squared tests and Student’s t tests were used for comparison of variables as appropriate.  Statistical significance was at the p=0.05 level.

Results:  One hundred twenty-two patients were surveyed. Overall, 51.6% (n=63) of the subjects had infertility and were seeking IVF and 48.4% did not have infertility (n=59).  Age, gravidity, ethnicity, and educational attainment were comparable between the two study groups (IVF, Non IVF), however, there were more non-white subjects in the non IVF group than the IVF group (35.8% vs. 24.6% respectively, p=0.003).  The IVF and Non IVF groups were similar in the proportions of women who had ever heard of BPA and/or were aware of potential risk from the exposure to the chemical (77% vs. 72.3%, p=0.6).   However, subjects in the IVF group was less likely to engage in behaviors that lead to BPA exposure including frequent microwaving foods in plastics (28.6% vs. 44.1%, p=0.02), and eating food from plastic containers (52.4% vs. 62.7%, p=0.07) though this later comparison did not reach statistical significance.  Race, ethnicity, gravidity, and educational background were not significantly associated with BPA awareness or behaviors that might increase exposure to BPA.

Conclusions:  Many women attempting to conceive are aware of BPA and its potential risks but behaviors to limit exposure to the chemical are inconsistent and differ in women with and without infertility.

Disclosure: CC: Research Funding, NICHD. Nothing to Disclose: SB, DP, AP, SJ, MB

*Please take note of The Endocrine Society's News Embargo Policy at

Sources of Research Support: U54-HD-068157