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New Study: BPA Linked to Obesity in Children

09.24.12 New Study: BPA Linked to Obesity in Children

kid drinking soda

A new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association has shown a link between higher urine levels of BPA and childhood obesity. The study was performed by scientists at New York University and it is the first to link the chemical with obesity in children. Previous research has shown a link with adults and with animals.

The NYU School of Medicine researchers wrote, "In experimental studies, BPA exposure has been shown to disrupt multiple metabolic mechanisms, suggesting that it may increase body mass in environmentally relevant doses and therefore contribute to obesity in humans."

The study was conducted with 2,838 randomly selected kids and teens. They were between the ages of 6 and 19 and were a part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys between 2003 and 2008. According to Scientific American, the research showed that "only white children were found to have significant increases in obesity prevalence as their BPA levels increased. Those with the highest concentrations in their urine were five times more likely to be obese than children with the lowest levels."

Interestingly, the researchers found this association between obesity and BPA levels was concentrated in white participants in the study but not in other racial groups and cannot explain why this occured. 

Frederick vom Saal, a biology professor at the University of Missouri and a leading expert on the harmful biological effects of BPA, noted, “This is a great example of a health study that is consistent with studies in animals, and it also confirms what we’ve seen in adult populations.”

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study, most Americans have detectable levels of BPA in their blood. This past July, the FDA banned BPA from baby bottles and sippy cups. The Natural Resources Defense Council presented a petition to further ban BPA in food containers but this was rejected by the FDA.  

Although BPA has a short lifespan in the body, there are many ways to continually keep re-introducing the chemical to our systems. So, it's important to know just how to reduce your exposure to BPA?

  • Drink water from glass or stainless steel bottles instead of plastic. #3 and #7 are the worst.
  • Opt for fresh or frozen foods and avoid foods packed in cans (which are lined with an epoxy resin containing BPA). This includes soda cans and infant formula cans. Foods and drinks that are packed in glass jars or tetrapaks are a better option.
  • Ask for receipts to be emailed instead of handling carbonless thermal receipts (containing BPA) or wash hands after handling paper receipts.
  • If you microwave food, heat food in glass rather than plastic to prevent any possibility of chemicals leaching into food. 
  • If you preserve food, choose a completely safe option by using Weck glass jars. Why take the time and effort of preserving healthy foods only for them to be contaminated by the BPA that lines the lid?
What steps does you take to avoid BPA?
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