Industrial chemical in high levels linked to obesity
New York University researcher’s new findings add more evidence against BPA as they find high levels in children and adolescents is significantly linked to obesity.
Bisphenol A (BPA) primarily used to make plastics and found in the inside of most food and beverage cans and other consumable products has already been shown that elevated urinary BPA concentrations in adults is linked to obesity and coronary artery disease.View slideshow: Avoid BPA Exposure
The Food and Drug Administration had ceased the use of BPA in baby bottles and children’s drinking cups. However, according to researchers BPA is plausibly linked to childhood obesity but there is little evidence leading researchers to examine the link between urinary BPA concentrations and body mass outcomes in children.
Researchers led by Dr. Leonardo Trasande, MD , conducted a cross-sectional study with data collected on 2,838 participants aged 6 to 19, who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Surveys 2003 to 2008 and had urinary BPA concentration taken .
The findings revealed those who had the highest concentrations of BPA were more than twice likely to be obese in comparison to those with the lowest levels.
The link was the strongest in Caucasian children with the highest urinary levels of BPA had shown four times greater chance of obesity in comparison to children with the lowest levels.
Obesity was not linked to exposure to other environmental phenols that are commonly used in other consumer products like sunscreen and soap. Researchers also found in a stratified analysis urinary BPA concentrations and obesity was not found among blacks or Hispanics.
In the authors conclusion they write “Urinary BPA concentration was significantly associated with obesity in this cross-sectional study of children and adolescents. Explanations of the association cannot rule out the possibility that obese children ingest food with higher BPA content or have greater adipose stores of BPA.”
Researchers also noted that their study’s design does not allow for a definite conclusion that BPA caused children’s obesity. Future studies could include children enrolled in longitudinal studies to measure banked urine samples and for BPA levels.
Dr. Trasande stated "Clearly bad diet and lack of exercise are the leading contributors to childhood obesity, but this study suggests a significant role for environmental, particularly chemical factors in that epidemic," as reported by ABC News.
These findings appear in today’s issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services “Concern over potential harm from BPA is highest for young children, because their bodies are early in development and have immature systems for detoxifying chemicals. Adults and older children should follow reasonable food preparation practices to reduce exposure to BPA. The National Institutes of Health is supporting additional studies to better understand BPA and adults.”
More information on BPA can be found at Facts about BPA.