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Chemical BPA linked to increase of childhood asthma

Thursday, March 07, 2013 by: Sherry Baker, Health Sciences Editor
Tags: BPA, childhood asthma, chemicals

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(NaturalNews) Here we go again. Yet another new study has linked the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) -- widely found in plastic products, food can liners and even food receipts -- to a serious health problem. Meanwhile, although the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups last July, the agency continues to do little else about this potentially dangerous additive other than issuing statements saying the FDA is continuing to study the issue of BPA safety.

The newest BPA research is from scientists at the Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health at the Mailman School of Public Health. They are the first to report, in a study just published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, that early childhood exposure to BPA corresponds to an elevated risk for asthma in young children.

"Asthma prevalence has increased dramatically over the past 30 years, which suggests that some as-yet-undiscovered environmental exposures may be implicated. Our study indicates that one such exposure may be BPA," lead author Kathleen Donohue, MD, an assistant professor of Medicine at Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons and an investigator at the Center for Children's Environmental Health, said in a media statement.

Dr. Donohue and her research team studied 568 women enrolled in the Mothers & Newborns study of environmental exposures. BPA exposure was documented by measuring levels of a BPA metabolite in urine samples taken during the third trimester of pregnancy. The BPA metabolite was also measured in the women's children when they reached the ages three, five, and seven. A validated questionnaire was used to evaluate wheezing problems and the scientists adjusted their findings for secondhand smoke and other factors known to be associated with asthma.

The results showed that exposure to BPA after children were born was associated with a significant increased risk of wheeze and asthma. What's more, this increased risk for wheeze and asthma was seen at "fairly routine, low doses of exposure to BPA," Dr. Donohue stated.

Incredibly, the vast majority -- more than 90 percent -- of the children in the study had detectable levels of BPA metabolite in their bodies, a finding echoed in previous research. Of course, this does not mean that all children with BPA exposure will develop asthma. "Just as smoking increases the risk of lung cancer but not everyone who smokes gets lung cancer, not every child exposed to BPA will develop asthma," Dr. Donohue said in the media statement.

So what is behind the BPA-asthma connection? Just what the chemical does to the body remains unclear. The new study did not find evidence that exposure to BPA increased the risk that the immune system would develop more antibodies to common airborne allergens. "Other possible pathways may include changes to the innate immune system, but this remains an open question," Dr. Donohue noted.

Her research adds to existing and disturbing evidence that shows BPA exposure is linked not only to respiratory ailments but also to obesity, impaired glucose tolerance, behavioral issues, and other health problems.

To reduce exposure to BPA, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) advise not using plastic containers numbers three and seven, eating less canned food, and opting to use glass, porcelain, or stainless steel containers, especially for hot food and liquids.



About the author:
Sherry Baker is a widely published writer whose work has appeared in Newsweek, Health, the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, Yoga Journal, Optometry, Atlanta, Arthritis Today, Natural Healing Newsletter, OMNI, UCLA''''s "Healthy Years" newsletter, Mount Sinai School of Medicine''''s "Focus on Health Aging" newsletter, the Cleveland Clinic''''s "Men''''s Health Advisor" newsletter and many others.

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