White children exposed to high levels of chemical BPA are five times more likely to be obese, study concludes

White children exposed to high levels of bisphenol A, better known as BPA, are five times more likely to be obese than children with low levels, according to a study published last week in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The study by the New York University School of Medicine is the first to link the chemical to obesity in children, which is especially prevalent in Kentucky.

Environment Health News reporter Brien Bienkowski reports that scientists found traces of BPA, which are used in some canned food and beverages, paper receipts and dental sealants, “are found in virtually every U.S. adult and child.
In the study of body mass and BPA data from 2,838 youths aged 6 to 19, only white children were found to have significant increases in obesity prevalence as their BPA levels increased. Those with the highest concentrations in their urine were five times more likely to be obese than children with the lowest levels. Black children with higher BPA levels were 1.25 times more likely to be obese than those with lower levels, which the scientists said is not statistically significant. Hispanic children had the same rates of obesity at the highest and lowest levels.”

Bienkowski reports that “representatives from the chemical industry said the study had too many weaknesses to prove any connection.
Steven Hentges, from the American Chemistry Council’s Polycarbonate/BPA Global Group, said that attempts ‘to link our national obesity problem to minute exposures to chemicals found in common, everyday products are a distraction from the real efforts underway to address this important national health issue.’ ”

One study of preschoolers in North Carolina and Ohio found that 99 percent of BPA exposure was through food. But since the chemical is in many plastics and other products, this is difficult for scientists to pin down.
“People are always told if you just stop eating or exercise more, you will lose weight. But there may be more to it … and I think there is,” said Retha Newbold, a visiting scientist at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, who specializes in BPA and other endocrine-disrupting chemicals.  (Read more)

James Bruggers, environmental writer for The Courier-Journal, noted the report here.

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