The community has always expressed its opposition to the use of BPA in plastics and can liners. There has been a backlash against the use of the chemical by the population which has resulted in its ban for certain uses including baby bottles. And numerous manufacturers have willingly halted their use of BPA, as the voices of consumers have become increasingly clear and apparent.

Now, however, there has been new research undertaken that has actually linked BPA to the likelihood of obesity in children. We know that the whole country has become increasingly concerned about the rise in obesity and that a variety of different approaches to the problem are being realized across the United States. Most recently, New York City has banned the sale of large-sized sugary beverages in certain retail establishments. This move has been met with a plethora of different responses from consumers. But the ban certainly illustrates a growing trend. Obesity is a tremendous problem with implications ranging from rising health care costs to the health and longevity of the population. And now the chemical BPA that can be found in many different food and drink containers has been suggested as a possible link in obesity in children.

The study was authored by Dr. Leonardo Trasande, an associate professor of pediatrics and environmental medicine at the NYU School of Medicine. It found that children and teenagers exposed to high levels of BPA are more likely to be obese.

The study focused on the body mass and urinary BPA of more than 2800 children and teens in the U.S. Sadly, over 92% of the participants showed detectable levels of urinary BPA, and those with the highest levels were over two and a half times more likely to be obese than those with lower levels. This was true even after those kids were controlling their diets and increasing their exercise levels.

Dr. Trasande said, “Clearly bad diet and lack of exercise are the leading contributors to childhood obesity, but this study suggests a significant role for environmental, particularly chemical factors in that epidemic.”

While we can recognize the importance of the FDA’s decision to ban BPA in baby bottles, this study does suggest that this particular ban did not go far enough. BPA is a chemical used in the manufacturing of some plastics and the linings of metal cans. Studies done in the past revealed that the chemical leaches out of the plastic when heated. It has been linked to diabetes, infertility and cancer and now, obesity. Some claim that banning BPA is unreasonable and that there is no conclusive study regarding its harmful effects.

Still, it remains true that over 30 percent of children in the U.S. are overweight or obese. That percentage is three times as high as it was just thirty years ago. Whatever information we can gain that might help us control and reduce this problem should be more than welcome, not only in the medical community, but in the food manufacturing community as well. There are certainly alternatives for manufacturers – BPA is not there only alternative for manufacturing. That would be well illustrated by those companies who have stopped using the chemical in products already.

While we can all recognize that diet and exercise play a key role in obesity, there has been an explosive rise in the incidence of obesity in the population. This study’s suggestions certainly need further investigations. But for, these implications strengthen our own resolve that chemicals in our food supply do have consequences.
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