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Study now links plastic chemical BPA to asthma


(NaturalNews) A well-known chemical component added to plastic containers, food cans, receipt paper, and various other consumer products has demonstrated yet another mode of toxicity, new research contends. Bisphenol-A (BPA), which has repeatedly been linked to endocrine disruption in humans, is now showing signs of causing asthma in children, experts warn, adding more evidence as to why it needs to be banned.

Research looking at 657 pregnant women who tested positive for BPA during their first and third trimesters found that prenatal exposure to this plasticizing compound is associated with a 20 percent increased risk of these mothers' babies being born with the respiratory ailment. The study conclusively found that BPA increases the risk of asthma apart from all other possible contributing factors.

Another study looking at BPA levels in pregnant women at 16 and 26 weeks of pregnancy found an even stronger correlation between BPA exposure and asthma. Children born to BPA-exposed mothers had a more than doubled risk of developing the respiratory condition at six months of age -- and for every 10-fold increase in BPA exposure, the risk of asthma jumps by an additional 55 percent.

Numerous other studies corroborate these findings, revealing asthma risk increases ranging from 20-79 percent depending on the amount of BPA exposure. Some studies demonstrate this risk in adolescent children while others show it in babies, but the common thread is this: BPA is exceptionally damaging to a developing child, and the chemical is everywhere, despite some manufacturers' removal of it from a small subset of consumer products.

BPA directly interferes with immune function
What makes BPA so damaging is its effect not only on hormones but also on the immune system. The chemical seems to provoke T-helper 1 (Th1) and T-helper 1 (Th2) cells, which is known to put certain patients at risk of developing chronic health conditions -- in this case, asthma.

BPA is also suspected to increase production of pro-allergenic immune substances like IL-4 and IgE, both of which are known to provoke an inflammatory response and oxidative stress. Inflammation and free radical havoc are both associated with early-onset aging and degenerative disease, which also makes sense when considering the nature of asthma.

Evidence also suggests that BPA accumulates in fat tissue, as the body doesn't know what it is or what to do with it. This could explain why the ubiquitous plasticizer is associated with obesity in children, and particularly young females exposed to it during early childhood development. Once embedded, BPA likely continues to wreak havoc in the form of constant assault on the endocrine system, altering hormone production and expression.

"To reduce exposure to BPA, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences recommends avoiding plastic containers (with) numbers 3 and 7, shifting from canned foods to fresh or frozen foods, and, when possible, choosing glass, porcelain, or stainless steel containers, especially for hot food or liquids," reads a Columbia University press release that accompanied a recent study indicting BPA as a cause of obesity.

While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has restricted the use of BPA in baby bottles and children's "sippy" cups, the agency has done nothing to remove it from thermal receipt paper, plastic containers for adults, food can linings, and even drinking water, all sources of which still come into contact with young children and babies.

"One of the most important ways to get the cleanest tap water is to ensure that the source water, upstream from the water utility, is not being contaminated by agricultural waste, industrial pollution, or human activity," advises Dr. David Andrews, Ph.D., a senior scientist at the Environmental Working Group (EWG).





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