Pregnancy, Babies, Parenting News & Tips

BPA Makes Children Obese, Aluminum Cans Are Main Culprits

By Renee Anderson / Sep 19, 2012 08:52 AM EDT
  •  Aluminum Can
  • (Photo : Sarah G/Flickr) Aluminum Can

Adding one more risk factor into the controversial chemical bisphenol -A or BPA's list, a new study found the harmful chemical playing a major role in childhood obesity.

BPA is a chemical found in many plastic bottles and beverage cans that has been linked to health issues like cancer, neurological issues, heart disease and reproductive problems.

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), finding the health issues linked to the chemical, recently issued a ban on the chemical in baby bottles and sippy cups. However, the chemical is still used as an internal coating for aluminum cans.

Leonardo Trasande and colleagues looked at 3,000 children and adolescents, aged between six and 19 to examine a link between obesity and exposure to BPA. All the participants were part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), conducted between 2003 and 2004.

The participants were randomly selected and tested to measure their urinary BPA concentration. Later these measurements were compared with their body mass.  Nearly 93 percent of the participants were found having detectable BPA levels in their urine.

Other factors like race/ethnicity, age, caregiver education, poverty to income ratio sex, television watching, caloric intake and creatinine level were also taken into consideration.

Children, with highest level of BPA, were found obese (22.3 percent) compared to children with lowest levels (10.3 percent). The negative impact was more visible in white children and teens than any other ethnic group.

At the end of the study, the investigators found children with highest levels of urinary BPA 2.6 times higher risk of becoming obese compared to the lowest measures of urinary BPA.

"Most people agree the majority of BPA exposure in the United States comes from aluminum cans," Dr. Trasande, associate professor of pediatrics and environmental medicine said, in a statement. "This data adds to already existing concerns about BPA and further supports the call to limit exposure of BPA in this country, especially in children. Removing it from aluminum cans is probably one of the best ways we can limit exposure. There are alternatives that manufacturers can use to line aluminum cans."

Findings of the study have been published in JAMA, The Journal of the American Medical Association.

Debate about using the controversial chemical has been prevalent from a long time.  However, according to a federal report, nearly five or six million pounds of bisphenol is produced every year. Exposure to the chemical occurs through ingestion of foods in contact with BPA containing materials.

The findings bring great concern as obesity is one of the major problems troubling the young generation in the country. Obesity at a young age is a great problem as obese children are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease like blood pressure, cholesterol, sleep apnea and diabetes.

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