(NaturalNews) The controversial chemical bisphenol-A (BPA), already linked to a wide array of health problems, may also increase the risk of asthma in children, according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston and published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.
BPA is an industrial chemical widely used in the manufacture of hard, clear plastics like those used in water and baby bottles, as well as in resins used to line cans of food, beverages and infant formula. Exposure has been linked to an increased risk of cancer, heart disease, birth defects, and hormonal and reproductive problems. Its use in products for young children has been banned in a number of countries and in three U.S. states.
After years of insisting that the chemical was safe, the FDA recently changed its position and called for more research.
Researchers fed pregnant mice BPA for a week before they were due to give birth, until the mice had a body burden of BPA equivalent to that regularly found in pregnant U.S. women. They then exposed the pups of these mice to a common allergy inducer, and compared their response to that of mice who had not been exposed to BPA in utero. They found a significantly greater asthma reaction in the BPA-exposed mice.
"All four of our indicators of asthma response showed up in the BPA group, much more so than in the pups of the non-exposed mice," co-author Randall Goldblum said.
Steve Georas of the Mary Parkes Center for Asthma, Allergy and Pulmonary Care at the University of Rochester, who was not involved in the study, said he found the results compelling.
"They're using what are probably going to be reasonable estimates of human neonatal exposure, and that seems to have an effect on the developing immune system or sensitivity to asthma," he said. "If you take it together with some epidemiologic studies, I would consider it cause for concern."