(NaturalNews) If you have a child with an ever-expanding waistline and are unsure of the cause, the answer could be hiding in the toys he plays with or the bottles she drinks from. New research published in the peer-reviewed journal, Pediatrics, suggests that both bisphenol-A (BPA), the infamously toxic plastics chemical, and phthalates could be causing young children to pack on extra pounds, which means they very well may be potential contributors to the childhood obesity epidemic currently sweeping the nation.
Researchers from the University of Michigan (UM) say a clear correlation exists between high levels of BPA and phthalates in children's urine and both high percentages of body fat and larger waist circumferences. In other words, children with detectable levels of these two chemicals in their bodies are more likely to be heavier than their peers, according to the new analysis, which could help explain why proper diet and exercise is sometimes not enough to keep certain kids slim and healthy.
To come to this conclusion, a UM research team took urine samples from various children and analyzed them for BPA and phthalate content. They then took measurements of waist size and body mass in order to make comparisons. Upon analysis, the team determined that children with the highest levels of BPA and phthalates in their urine were also the most likely to be obese or have a waist circumference-to-height ratio that is out of proportion.
"Studies in adults had shown an association between high BPA levels and obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, but little was known about its effects in children," says Dr. Donna Eng, M.D., lead author of the new research. "Our study suggests a possible link between BPA exposure and childhood obesity. We therefore need more longitudinal studies to determine if there is a causal link between BPA and excess body fat."
Perpetual BPA exposure from composite dental fillings could lead to major health problems later in children's lives
While this latest study on BPA did not identify a specific link between BPA and either cardiovascular or diabetes risk in children, researchers say it may be possible that such risks compound over time into adulthood due to prolonged and continual exposure. This would help explain the many other studies that have already established such disease risks in adults. In either case, BPA appears to cause an array of known health problems in humans, which is why many researchers are now insisting on a full ban.
"Based on these results, BPA may not have adverse effects on cardiovascular and diabetes risk," says Dr. Joyce Lee, M.D., M.P.H., an associate professor of pediatrics at C.S. Mott Children's Hospital in Ann Arbor. "But it's certainly possible that the adverse effects of BPA could compound over time, with health effects that only later manifest in adulthood."
As far as how children are being exposed to BPA specifically, some of the most common culprits include plastic bottles and containers, thermal paper receipts, food can linings and money. Another recent study also says composite dental fillings can be a major source of BPA poisoning, as sealant material can leech the chemical into mouth saliva, where it is then metabolized by the body.
"It is absolutely clear that bisphenol-A is a toxic chemical and an endocrine disruptor," adds Dr. Philip Landrigan, lead author of the recent paper on composite dental fillings. "We know this from studies in humans and in animals."
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