Bisphenol or BPA is part of your everyday diet, like it or not. According to the 2003-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 93 percent of Americans had detectable amount of BPA in their urine. We mostly get it through food: it is used to line cans and bottles, baby cups and bottles and is part of many other common products. It is a well researched chemical and it is known that it can have serious effects on our health. The latest study found that the BPA may also be in part responsible for the obesity epidemics, especially in children.
What is BPA?
Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical that resembles synthetic estrogen, used in the manufacture of polycarbonate plastics. This plastic is used for the production of drink and soda containers, plastic spoons and forks, compact disks, car parts, toys and many other everyday objects. It is also used to coat the inside of food cans, as a protective lining.
From bottles and cans, BPA ends in our food, and from food in our system. According to the latest study, it has the ability to affect the balance of hormones estrogen and testosterone, and it makes fat cells bigger. This effect on fat cells happens regardless of the amount of calories a person eats, and is particularly strong in growing children.
Scientists based their findings on the study of almost 3,000 children. They found that the more BPA kids had in their urine, the more likely they were to be obese. Their results confirm what is now widely believed ” “ that the environment is in part responsible for the obesity, together with poor nutrition and lack of physical exercise. While it is not completely clear how BPA affects fat cells, scientists believe that it in some way affects children”s metabolism.
The same study also found that BPA slows the production of hormone adiponectin, which is known to lower the risk of heart disease.
While other studies proved potential effects of BPA on the brain, prostate glands of children and on their behavior, FDA does not think that the results prove conclusively that BPA is bad for health. They did ban the use of BPA in the manufacture of baby bottles and cups, and in spite of their reluctance to ban the use of BPA completely, some bottle producers decided to avoid its use voluntarily. FDA is waiting for more evidence. How much more?
The latest study only reinforces general advice to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables instead of caned ones. It is also a good idea to avoid reusing plastic water bottles and to check if the bottles contain BPA before purchasing them. Growing children are particularly sensitive to environmental chemicals that affect hormonal balance and brain development, and it is up to parents to minimize their exposure as much as possible.