|3-D chemical structure of bisphenol A.|
Kids and teens with higher levels of the notorious plastics chemical bisphenol A (known simply as BPA) in their urine may also be more likely to be obese, according to a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The Food and Drug Administration raised questions about the risks of BPA in 2010, even though it was deemed "safe" in 2008, the New York Times reported. The chemical is already banned from kids' sippy cups and baby bottles.
"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," New York University School of Medicine researchers wrote in the study.
To test this theory, the researchers looked at the body mass indexes and urinary BPA levels of 2,838 kids and teens between the ages of 6 and 19 who were part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys between 2003 and 2008.
Overall, 17.8 percent of the study participants were obese, while 34.1 percent were overweight. The researchers also divided up their urinary BPA levels into four levels, ranging from the lowest levels to the highest.
A little more than 10 percent of study participants in the level with the lowest urinary BPA levels had a BMI indicative of obesity, compared with more than 22 percent of those with the highest urinary BPA levels.
"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," the researchers wrote in the study. "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."
A study just last month appearing in the journal PLoS ONE linked higher urinary levels of BPA with a condition called coronary artery stenosis, or narrowed arteries. That research, conducted by scientists at the University of Cambridge and University of Exeter, included 591 people.
That same Cambridge-Exeter team also showed in a circulation study that high BPA may be linked with an increased risk of heart disease, Reuters reported.
What other chemicals are lurking in your household products? A study in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives identified which consumer products contain endocrine-disruptors:
1. Vinyl Shower Curtains The phthalate DEHP has been found in vinyl products, and has been linked to respiratory problems.
2. Air Freshener Fragrances not only trigger asthma but, the researchers say, have been shown to mimic estrogen, and can make breast cancer cells grow in laboratory tests.
3. Dryer Sheets Like in air fresheners, the fragrances in dryer sheets can trigger asthma and mimics estrogen.
4. Perfumes It goes without saying that perfumes can similarly trigger respiratory issues. Some may also mimic estrogen.
5. Sunscreens Sunscreens have some of the largest concentrations of chemicals, according to the researchers, including cyclosiloxanes, according to WebMD, which produced liver and lung damage in mice in one study.
6. Cleaning Solutions Even "alternative" cleaning solutions, considered by many of us to be greener and safer, tested positive for some of the 55 chemicals the researchers focused on. They suggest cleaning with baking soda and vinegar, when appropriate.
7. Laundry Detergent In detergents and soaps, watch out for alkylphenols, which seem to exhibit estrogen-like properties.
8. Cosmetics Many cosmetics contain parabens as preservatives, but the class of chemical is shown to act similarly to estrogen. However, like many potential endocrine disruptors, parabens have been approved up to a certain amount by the FDA for use in cosmetics, and most are used at levels far below the upper limit.
9. Shampoo And Conditioner Along with cleaning solutions, the researchers tested "alternative" shampoos and conditioners and discovered potentially harmful chemicals. In fact, according to the press release: A consumer who used the tested alternative surface cleaner, tub and tile cleaner, laundry detergent, bar soap, shampoo and conditioner, facial cleanser and lotion and toothpaste would be exposed to 19 of the target compounds. Like cosmetics, many may also contain parabens.
And, from yee Wiki:
Bisphenol A (BPA) is an organic compound with the chemical formula (CH3)2C(C6H4OH)2. It is a colorless solid that is soluble in organic solvents, but poorly soluble in water. Having two phenol functional groups, it is used to make polycarbonate polymers and epoxy resins, along with other materials used to make plastics. Bisphenol A has a vapor pressure of 5*10-6 Pa.
BPA exhibits hormone-like properties that raise concern about its suitability in consumer products and food containers. Since 2008, several governments have questioned its safety, which prompted some retailers to withdraw polycarbonate products. A 2010 report from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned of possible hazards to fetuses, infants, and young children. In September 2010, Canada became the first country to declare BPA a toxic substance. The European Union, Canada, and recently the United States have banned BPA use in baby bottles.