BPA in food packaging contributes to childhood obesity

New research has linked bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical commonly found in the lining of metal cans, food
packaging, polycarbonate drink bottles, and other consumer products, to
obesity in children and adolescents.

Investigators analyzed a
subsample of 2,838 children aged 6 through 19 years in the 2003-2008
National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys for urinary BPA
concentrations and body mass, adjusting for sex, age, race, ethnicity,
caloric intake, serum cotinine and urinary creatinine levels,
television viewing, income-to-poverty ratio, and parental education.

Thirty-four percent of the children were overweight, and 18% were obese. Median urinary BPA concentration was 2.8 ng/mL.

Data
showed that study participants who had high levels of urinary BPA were
at 2.6 times higher risk for obesity than children and adolescents who
had low levels of urinary BPA. For children with the highest levels of
urinary BPA, 22% were obese compared with 10% of those with the lowest
levels of urinary BPA. The association between urinary BPA and obesity
was more prevalent in white children and adolescents than in black or
Hispanic participants.

Obesity was not linked with environmental
exposure to other phenols found in many consumer products including
soaps and sunscreens.

Bisphenol A exposure has been linked to
breast and prostate cancers, infertility, neurologic conditions, and
cardiovascular disease. A recent study of mothers and children concluded that gestational BPA exposure affected behavioral and emotional regulation in girls.

The
US Food and Drug Administration has banned the use of BPA in baby
bottles and children’s sippy cups but stopped short of banning the
chemical in aluminum and metal cans and in food packaging.

Go back to the current issue of the eConsult.

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