If you know about bisphenol-a (BPA), the estrogen-mimicking chemical found in plastics and other produce, then you probably know it isn’t safe. Well, a study out of NYU School of Medicine links BPA to obesity. The study involved analyzing surveys from 2,938 young people, and is another of a long list of studies coming to the same conclusions.
While taking important factors like the children’s race, age, gender, family income and education, activity level, and calorie intake into consideration, the researchers found that obese children made up 22 percent of individuals with the highest BPA levels in their urine. Of those with the lowest BPA levels, however, obese children represented only 10 percent.
Similar Results in Adults
“It’s a credible study and it has to be given some attention,” says Phil Landrigan, director of Children’s Environmental Health Center at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York.
This is far from the first examination of the link between bisphenol-A (BPA) and obesity. Last year, a similar study was conducted also using CDC data to examine BPA levels and obesity among American adults. Results were similar to the study of children, although it should be noted that obese white children—black and Hispanic children less so—showed the most definitive link to BPA.
A Closer Look at Obesity and BPA
NYU’s Leonardo Trasande adds that obese children may store more BPA in their fat than do others. He adds that obese children also likely consume more BPA through canned foods and drinks, like soda. (We should remember, however, that the hormone-mimicking chemical is nearly ubiquitous, and 92 percent of Americans over age 6 carry detectable levels in their blood.) You can get BPA and the equally (if not more) dangerous sister chemical BPS exposure from any number of things, including:
- Plastic water bottles
- The inner lining of canned foods
- Paper money
- BPA-free receipts
America’s obesity rates have been rising for three decades. Today, over two-thirds of Americans are overweight, and one-third is obese. “Are we programming people to fail?” Linda Birnbaum, director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences asks. “That’s the question we need to ask, instead of blaming people.”
There are numerous studies confirming that BPA and BPS are harmful chemicals linked to numerous conditions including diabetes and breast cancer. There’s a reason Canada has already banned BPA as toxic, and the Food and Drug Administration finally banned BPA in baby bottles nationwide. America—especially consider recent debates over healthcare and personal responsibility—should not be the last to see it banned from its goods.