January 26th, 2012 by Zachary Shahan
BPA has come into the public consciousness now. If you haven’t yet heard about it, though, take a scroll through our BPA tag or the BPA tag of sister site Eat Drink Better. Adding on to all we already know about the risks of BPA (which is still in our plastic and some other materials, such as food cans and receipts), we’ve got more bad news about BPA.
BPA Linked to Behavior Problems in Baby Girls
“Baby girls who are exposed while in the womb to a chemical found commonly in plastics may develop behavior problems as children, a new study suggests,” Cory Hatch of MSNBC writes.
Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention measured BPA levels in the urine of 244 mothers at various times during pregnancy, and in their children at various times after birth. When the children reached age 3, their mothers completed two surveys designed to detect behavior and emotional problems such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and depression.
Mothers with higher BPA levels in their urine during pregnancy tended to have 3-year-old girls with more anxious and depressed behavior, and poorer emotional control and inhibition, researchers found.
A similar effect was not seen in boys whose mothers showed high levels of BPA. And BPA exposure after a child was born had no affect on behavioral and emotional control, according to the study.
“Women with higher BPA levels during pregnancy— their children had higher scores in these surveys,” said study co-author Joe Braun, a research fellow at Harvard School of Public Health. “Typically, girls had more behavior problems.”
For more on this one, check out the MSNBC link above.
BPA Linked to Obesity
More recent news one BPA, from Environmental Health News: “High urinary levels of bisphenol A in older adults are associated with increased weight and waist size, both indicators of obesity that can lead to serious illness and disease,” according to a new study, “Urinary Bisphenol A (BPA) concentration associates with obesity and insulin resistance,” published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.
“Researchers in China have found that adults over the age of 40 with higher levels of bisphenol A (BPA) in their urine tend to be obese, have more abdominal fat and be insulin resistant. These metabolic disorders can lead to further and more harmful health problems, such as high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease.”
This is not the first time the link has been made. “Prior epidemiological studies, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and the journal PLoS One, have revealed links between BPA and metabolic disorders, consistent with this new research.”
More from Environmental Health News:
Previous lab-based studies correlate BPA to an increase in fat cells and increases in insulin hormone levels. These, in turn, can lead to hyperinsulinemia and insulin resistance and – perhaps – obesity. Exposures to this chemical in rodents during prenatal periods also alter the development of brain regions associated with food intake and metabolism. Hence the animal studies add to the plausibility of these new results from China.
In the study, BPA levels were measured in 3,390 adults older than 40 from the Songnan Community, Shanghai, China. Sociodemographic, medical and lifestyle backgrounds were collected from each person. Glucose and insulin levels were also measured.
Body mass indexes (BMI, the weight divided by height) were calculated for each person. “Overweight” was considered as a BMI from 24 to 28 while a BMI over 28 was considered “obese.” Abdominal obesity was defined as a waist circumference more than 35 inches in men and 33.5 inches in women.
BPA was measured in a morning urine sample. The BPA levels were classified into groups by increasing concentration levels (from low to high), and the groups were compared. These levels where well within those typically seen in the United States.
The highest BPA levels were associated with both an obese BMI and waist circumference and higher concentrations of insulin in the blood. Overall, the younger men (average age of 59) in the study tended to have the highest levels of this chemical in their urine.
In participants with a BMI under 24, the prevalence of insulin resistance was increased by 94 percent in groups with the highest levels of this contaminant – an increase more prominent than in the obese BMI groups.
This study is limited by the fact that the relationship is based on a single sampling point of BPA and causality cannot be determined by the study’s design – the researchers used a cross-sectional approach.
This study suggests that BPA levels in adults represent a health risk because they are related to obesity and related health problems.
In other words, BPA causes problems. Watch out for it.
Baby girl via shutterstock
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