Obesity in Kids Due to High Levels of BPA in Children’s Products
There is a new link framed between obesity and children and adolescents with a higher concentration of urinary bisphenol A (BPA).
This link was discovered by the researchers from the NYU School of Medicine and the finding is being carried in the September 19 issue of JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association).
BPA is a synthetic chemical that is being banned by the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from sippy cups and baby bottles. These chemicals are still found in the aluminium soda cans. It is a low grade estrogen that is found in the plastic bottles labelled number 7 recycling symbol. According the manufacturers this chemical acts as an antiseptic, but studies have shown the chemical disrupts multiple mechanisms of human metabolism that may increase body mass.
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Excess of BPA causes cardiovascular disease, breast cancer, prostate cancer, neurological disorders, diabetes and infertility.
"This is the first association of an environmental chemical in childhood obesity in a large, nationally representative sample," said lead investigator Leonardo Trasande, MD, MPP, associate professor of pediatrics and environmental medicine. "Our findings further demonstrate the need for a broader paradigm in the way we think about the obesity epidemic. Unhealthy diet and lack of physical activity certainly contribute to increased fat mass, but the story clearly doesn't end there."
"In the U.S. population, exposure [to BPA] is nearly ubiquitous, with 92.6 percent of persons 6 years or older identified in the 2003-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) as having detectable BPA levels in their urine. A comprehensive, cross-sectional study of dust, indoor and outdoor air, and solid and liquid food in preschool-aged children suggested that dietary sources constitute 99 percent of BPA exposure," the investigators wrote.
For the study the researchers focused on 3000 children and adolescents between the age 6 and 19. They selected measurement of urinary BPA concentration in the 2003-2008 NHANES.
The study was led by Dr. Trasande and his co-authors, Jan Blustein, MD, PhD, and Teresa Attina, MD, PhD, MPH, who examined associations between urinary BPA concentrations and body mass.
The researchers took into consideration factors such as race/ethnicity, age, caregiver education, poverty to income ratio, sex, serum cotinine level, caloric intake, television watching, and urinary creatinine level.
They noticed that children with the highest levels of urinary BPA had 2.6 times higher odds of being obese than those with the lowest measures of urinary BPA. Among the participants with the highest levels, 22.3 percent were obese compared with 10.3 percent of the participants with the lowest levels.
Later the researchers noticed that this association was significant only in the white and adolescents. And obesity was not associated with exposure to other environmental phenols commonly used in other consumer products, such as sunscreens and soaps.
"Most people agree the majority of BPA exposure in the United States comes from aluminum cans," Dr. Trasande said. "This data adds to already existing concerns about BPA and further supports the call to limit exposure of BPA in this country, especially in children. Removing it from aluminum cans is probably one of the best ways we can limit exposure. There are alternatives that manufacturers can use to line aluminum cans."
The researchers wrote, "We note the recent FDA ban of BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups, yet our findings raise questions about exposure to BPA in consumer products used by older children. Last year, the FDA declined to ban BPA in aluminum cans and other food packaging, announcing 'reasonable steps to reduce human exposure to BPA in the human food supply' and noting that it will continue to consider evidence on the safety of the chemical. Carefully conducted longitudinal studies that assess the associations identified here will yield evidence many years in the future."