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BPA Linked to Increased Health Risks in Children

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Bisphenol A (BPA), now banned from use in baby bottles and is no longer used to line cans of baby formula, continues to be present in our daily lives. Its presence continues to raise questions about what heightened exposure to BPA means. A recent article for Boston.com’s The Daily Dose discusses a study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, March 1, 2013. The study indicates that BPA—found in many household items made of hard plastic and in the plastic lining metal cans–also may be associated with an increased incidence of asthma in children. BPA has been associated with obesity in children and the increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and kidney disease in adulthood, but a new study has produced fodder for additional experimentation.

The study performed by Dr. Kathleen Donohue of Columbia University’s School of Physicians and Surgeons, in a group of inner city children "did not find that prenatal BPA exposure affected a child’s later asthma risk." (The Daily Dose, 3/1/13) High BPA levels were found, however, in children ages 3, 5 and 7 and a frequency of 1 in 4 children, diagnosed with asthma. Factors, such as exposure to cigarette smoke, parental history of asthma and ethnicity, were taken into consideration, but this study did not consider whether the children had less than nutritious eating habits, or consumed a lot of processed or canned food, or whether they were obese. (The Daily Dose 3/1/13)

The study’s results again may cause parents to re-think their children’s exposure to BPA, and Kotz’s article offers tips provided by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences on how to reduce BPA in daily living:

  • Do not microwave food in polycarbonate plastic food containers;
  • Avoid food packaged in containers marked with recycle codes "3" or "7" (which may contain BPA);
  • Reduce the use of canned food; and
  • Store (especially hot) food or liquid in glass, stainless steel or porcelain dishware.

Dr. Donohue agreed that it could "be difficult to develop effective interventions …feasible in the general population" to reduce the presence of BPA in food, and surmised the chemical would have to be regulated in order to lower exposure. (The Daily Dose, 3/1/13)