BPA has already been banned by the FDA in many products such as baby bottles and sippy cups, but the chemical still remains in a large majority of products children use every day. Dr. Leonardo Trasande, an associate professor of pediatrics at New York University, recently stated that “BPA has been associated with adult obesity and heart disease” and that the new findings “raise further questions about the need to limit BPA exposure in children.”
BPA has been used for more than 40 years in the manufacture of many hard plastic food containers and as the lining in metal food and beverage cans. Dr. Transande speculated that because BPA can act like estrogen, a female hormone, it may actually increase the size of the body’s fat cells. When used for packaging, trace amounts of the chemical can contaminate the food within. The National Toxicology Program at the Department of Health and Human Services says it has “some concern” over the possible health effects of BPA on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland of fetuses, infants, and children.
The recently released study consisted of taking urinary samples from 2,900 children and teens to observe BPA levels. Researchers found that only 10% of the children with low BPA levels were obese while 22% of the obese children had the highest BPA levels. These findings were similar for both boys and girls in the study. An even more disturbing statistic found by the study was that nearly 93% of Americans aged 6 and older have detectable levels of BPA in their urine. More studies need to be completed to firmly establish causation, but this study has sparked new interest in BPA research.
There are doctors who are currently asking for BPA to be banned from food packaging because of their concerns over its potential to disrupt hormones. Some of the ways you could avoid BPA products today is by checking the label, avoid microwaving certain plastics, putting certain plastics in the dishwasher, and using alternatives, like glass or porcelain. Hopefully, as more information comes out, the public’s growing concerns will be addressed.