Washington: Children who have higher levels of Bisphenol A, a chemical used in plastics, are more likely to become obese and have abnormal waist circumference, a new study has suggested.
The University of Michigan researchers studied the levels of BPA found in children`s urine and then measured body fat, waist circumference, and cardiovascular and diabetes risk factors, in a study published today in Pediatrics.
BPA was previously widely used in the manufacturing of polycarbonate and epoxy resins used in a variety of products for children, including baby bottles, protective coatings on metal food containers, plastic toys, and dental sealants.
Donna Eng, M.D., lead author of the study and recent graduate of the Pediatric Endocrinology Fellowship at C.S. Mott Children`s Hospital, said that studies in adults had shown an association between high BPA levels and obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, but little was known about its effects in children.
The study found that higher odds of obesity, defined as a BMI above the 95th percentile on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention growth curves, was associated with higher levels of urinary BPA.
Researchers also found that children with higher BPA levels also were more likely to have an abnormal waist circumference-to-height ratio.
The study did not find significant associations of BPA with any other chronic disease factors, including abnormal levels of cholesterol, insulin or glucose levels.
Eng said that their study suggested a possible link between BPA exposure and childhood obesity. We therefore need more longitudinal studies to determine if there is a causal link between BPA and excess body fat.
Joyce Lee, M.D., M.P.H, associate professor of Pediatrics at C.S. Mott Children`s Hospital, said that they were surprised that their study did not find a link between BPA and measures of cardiovascular and diabetes risk, which has been established among adults.
She said that based on the results, BPA may not have adverse effects on cardiovascular and diabetes risk, but it`s certainly possible that the adverse effects of BPA could compound over time, with health effects that only later manifest in adulthood.
The study has been published in Pediatrics.