Pregnant women should avoid beauty products
Pregnant women should avoid using beauty products, scientists have warned. A common compound found in deodorant, lipstick and perfumes affects a mother's maternal care, new research suggests.
Just a low exposure to the gender-bending chemical BPS was found to impair a mother’s ability to adjust to a child's needs.
The findings are significant from an evolutionary perspective, the researchers say, as maternal behaviour affects survival chances.
In a study on mice, scientists from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst found a low exposure to BPS caused 10 percent of baby mice to die as a result of poor mothering.
‘BPS affects maternal behaviour as well as maternally relevant neural correlates,’ authors Laura Vandenberg and Mary Catanese explained.
Along with impaired maternal care, they also found a ‘surprising increase incidence of infanticide’ in one group.
Bisphenol S (BPS) was designed as a replacement for BPA after mounting concerns about the plastic compound’s effect on human health.
But only a few studies have assessed the impact of BPS exposure - despite its growing popularity in the past decade.
However, scientists believe that it is also an endocrine disruptor.
In order to confirm its effects during pregnancy, the researchers exposed mice to the compound.
The rodents were split into three treatment groups: no BPS, one low dose or two low doses.
Their ability to build nests, care for their offspring and other maternal behaviours were monitored at three different time points.
Two of the female offspring were mated with unexposed male mice and tested in the same way, in the study published in the journal Endocrinology.
And to further examine the effects, brain regions believed to be important for maternal behaviour the rodents were scanned.
They found among mice mothers who were exposed to low doses in utero, 10 per cent of their offspring died through a lack of care.
‘Although these same effects were not seen at the higher dose, more than 10 percent of females exposed to 2 microgram BPS/kg/day either killed their pups or provided such poor instrumental maternal care that one or more pups needed to be euthanized,’ the authors reported.
‘While not statistically significant, the neglect and poor maternal care we observed were striking.’
The researchers also found that those exposed to the higher dose during pregnancy and lactation spent more time on the nest.
This goes against their typical behaviour – as pups grow, mothers increasingly leave the nest.
According to the study, the BPS exposure ‘may indicate a lack of adjustment’ to the pups’ changing needs.
They also noted the mothers showed signs of ‘hyperactivity, compulsivity-like behaviour, heightened stress response to scattered pups, or a displaced form of retrieval.’
For daughters, the effects on maternal behaviour were not all the same.
The BPS exposed daughters spent far less time on the nest than those that had not been exposed, and the researchers found they spent more time on nest building on one of the days.
They say this ‘may indicate a repetitive or OCD-like behaviour.’
According to the researchers, the results have ‘broad social and public health implications.’
Source: Daily Mail
(Dhaka times/24 December/SUL)