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Is BPA Making Girls Obese?


Health & Wellness  (tags: protection, research, safety, science, society, treatment, warning, women, prevention, risks, study, health, food, children, medicine, disease )

JL
- 452 days ago - motherjones.com
now new research suggests BPA, which leeches out from things like aluminum cans, drink straws, plastic packaging, and even cashier's receipts, could increase the risk for obesity in preteen girls.



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JL A. (275)
Friday June 21, 2013, 3:47 pm


Mother Jones
Is BPA Making Girls Obese?
The lead researcher of a new study weighs in on how the common chemical may put girls at risk.

By Maddie Oatman | Fri Jun. 14, 2013 12:39 PM PDT

A chemical common in food packaging—Bisphenol-A (BPA)—has for years been scrutinized for potential links to reproductive problems [1], heart disease, cancer, and even anxiety [2]. And now new research suggests BPA, which leeches out from things like aluminum cans, drink straws, plastic packaging, and even cashier's receipts, could increase the risk for obesity in preteen girls.

A Kaiser Permanente study, published this week in [3]PLOS ONE [3], examined obesity and BPA levels in a group of Chinese school children. While most of the kids were not significantly effected by the chemical, 9-12 year-old girls with high BPA levels in their urine were found to be twice as likely to be obese than other girls their age. In girls with especially high levels (more than 10 micrograms per liter) the risk of obesity was five times as great.

This isn't the first study to reveal BPA's particular effect on girls. My colleague Jaeah Lee explored how girls exposed to the chemical as fetuses [2] were more likely to be anxious and depressed than boys, and another study on rhesus monkeys revealed how it messes with the reproductive system [1]. So why are women more susceptible to the chemical?

The new Kaiser study suggests that, long after fetal development, girls in the throes of puberty may be particularly sensitive to BPA. Though his research didn't focus on why exactly BPA might impact pubescent girls, Dr. De-Kun Li, the study's principal investigator, offered some clues. BPA, considered an endocrine disrupter, mimics the hormone estrogen. Estrogen doesn't just impact reproductive functions, says Li, a reproductive and perinatal epidemiologist. It also shapes the metabolic process: how the body absorbs, metabolizes, and stores energy. "Puberty is the process of accelerated growth, what we commonly call a growth spurt," he explained. In puberty, girls' bodies produce more estrogen, triggering all kinds of transformations that rely on heightened metabolism. Add higher levels of BPA, and the body's delicate chemical balance could become disrupted. "For whatever reason—we still don't have all this worked out—you screw up your normal process, resulting in over-storage or over-absorption [of fat], or it reduces metabolism."

And there's more evidence supporting the theory that girls could be especially vulnerable to BPA: A large international study of twins last year [4] revealed that environmental factors have a greater impact on girls' weight than on boys', which is more swayed by genetics.

Li's study adds to a growing body of research that sheds a darker light on this chemical, such as a 2012 study [5] in the Journal of the American Medical Association that also found links between high BPA levels and obesity in kids and adolescents. The FDA remains skeptical that low levels of BPA cause any harm, and the food industry continues to happily put it in all sorts of packaging, like the can linings of Coca-Cola products [6]. In a move meant to assuage parental concerns as much as to address safety, the FDA banned BPA from baby bottles and sippy cups in 2012 [7]. The agency also claims to be "supporting efforts to replace BPA or minimize BPA levels in other food can linings."

Li, who in the past has published studies on BPA's association [3] with low birth weight, decreased sperm count, and higher risk of sexual dysfunction, indicated that research on women may eventually prove the chemical's risk to humans and its role in the obesity crisis. His next field of study? "In utero exposure, that's the key. When you're born, your development is already damaged. People are just starting to realize that that's the problem."
Source URL: http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2013/06/bpa-girls-obesity-puberty

Links:
[1] http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2012/09/bpa-cans-its-messing-your-ovaries
[2] http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2011/10/pediatrics-study-bpa-girls-depression
[3] http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/bpa-linked-to-obesity-risk-in-puberty-age-girls-211271981.html
[4] http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0030153
[5] http://media.jamanetwork.com/news-item/higher-levels-of-bpa-in-children-and-teens-associated-with-obesity/
[6] http://www.coca-cola.co.uk/faq/products/does-coca-cola-packaging-contain-bpa.html
[7] http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/18/science/fda-bans-bpa-from-baby-bottles-and-sippy-cups.html
 

Allan Yorkowitz (453)
Friday June 21, 2013, 3:59 pm
This is so incredible. I hope there are further studies on this.
 

JL A. (275)
Friday June 21, 2013, 4:22 pm
You cannot currently send a star to Allan because you have done so within the last day.
 

Kit B. (276)
Friday June 21, 2013, 5:05 pm

Each time I read about this it seems that women/girls are more directly affected than the male. We could just begin a massive education campaign without the studies, why risk waiting any longer?

I like taking water with me. I don't buy bottled water. I found that if one buys a product called "bobble" you can have take along water, fresh clean water with no BPA. BPA is not released because it is not used in the construction of the bottle and the bottle after 300 uses can be tossed into the recycle bin. A water filter is within the bottle of the "bobble".

I mention the bobble because we often hear that BPA is released into our water from the plastic containers.
 

JL A. (275)
Friday June 21, 2013, 5:10 pm
Thanks for explaining where the risk comes from Kit for those who don't know--it is especially released if the bottle is in a hot car. You cannot currently send a star to Kit because you have done so within the last day.
 

Laura Mancuso (63)
Friday June 21, 2013, 5:58 pm
JL, great article. Thanks for sharing.
 

greenplanet e. (157)
Saturday June 22, 2013, 12:45 am
Disturbing.
 

Helen Porter (40)
Saturday June 22, 2013, 3:14 am
I read about that a few days ago ..... canned tomatoes leaching BPA.

I threw away my canned tomatoes and pasta sauce.
 

Patricia H. (468)
Saturday June 22, 2013, 5:16 am
noted
 

Carol D. (109)
Saturday June 22, 2013, 6:10 am
Yes this is disturbing all about chemicals again I know they say not to keep microwaving food in plastic probably for the same reason

noted thanks
 

Andre Yokers (6)
Saturday June 22, 2013, 6:27 am
interesting note...
 

JL A. (275)
Saturday June 22, 2013, 7:24 am
You are welcome Laura and Carol. You are right Carol and Zee. The lining of cans also has this issue with the chemistry of tomatoes having the most leaching of all.
You cannot currently send a star to Zee, Carol or Andre because you have done so within the last day.
 

Anna Undebeck (205)
Saturday June 22, 2013, 9:49 am
Very disturbing indeed!!! Dont even know what to say :/

TY JL!
 

JL A. (275)
Saturday June 22, 2013, 9:52 am
You are welcome Anna.
You cannot currently send a star to Anna because you have done so within the last day.
 

Theodore Shayne (56)
Saturday June 22, 2013, 12:53 pm
Noted
 

Birgit W. (144)
Saturday June 22, 2013, 12:56 pm
It seems that we are all slowly being killed by the corrupt corporations and governments on our planet. We all do not need any chemicals, colour, etc in our food.
 

JL A. (275)
Saturday June 22, 2013, 1:11 pm
You cannot currently send a star to Birgit because you have done so within the last day.
 

Debra Tate (17)
Saturday June 22, 2013, 2:56 pm
noted
 

Past Member (0)
Saturday June 22, 2013, 3:05 pm
Bisphenol A Dangers!

We've been talking about the chemical BPA, and the nasty things it does to a mans body for years.

For those in need of a refresher on why you NEED to avoid this toxic agent, here are a few reminders…

 

Deborah W. (6)
Saturday June 22, 2013, 3:13 pm
COULD is the key word here ... will reserve judgement for the time being.
 

Michael Kirkby (85)
Saturday June 22, 2013, 3:33 pm
Isn't it wonderful what has been done to us in the name of progress by a bunch of greedy MFs? Of course they were the experts. They wouldn't lie to us would they? They wouldn't profit off our misery and suffering would they? Our governments wouldn't cooperate in mass experimentation in the name of progress would they?
Of course they would. Our governments deliberately welcomed in Nazi scientists who saw nothing wrong with experimentation, even genocide in the name of pure science.
They created the problems and then they created the solutions which may or may not cure you but will continue to exponentially increase their maximum profit.
 

JL A. (275)
Saturday June 22, 2013, 3:39 pm
You cannot currently send a star to Michael because you have done so within the last day.
 

Past Member (0)
 

JL A. (275)
Saturday June 22, 2013, 5:04 pm
Thanks for adding more information for those unfamiliar with the issue MJ
 

Past Member (0)
Saturday June 22, 2013, 5:08 pm
Deborah W, does that mean that you don't mind your daughter handling cash register receipts all day?
 

Past Member (0)
Saturday June 22, 2013, 5:19 pm
When the possible dangers and harms are this great, doesn't the phrase' err on the side of caution' become the most prudent course to take, Deborah? Or do we continue to promote these poisons until the damage is done to millions more?
 

Dori C. (17)
Saturday June 22, 2013, 6:18 pm
noted.
 

Cheryl B. (22)
Sunday June 23, 2013, 6:05 am
noted
 

Karen Martinez (18)
Sunday June 23, 2013, 6:57 am
Interesting article. Personally, I think much of what is in products that contain BPA's are the reason pre-teen girls are over weight, as well as the lack of exercise. They don't seem to get that drinking carbonated beverages and eating foods out of bags as well as not exercising makes them fat. I've done quite a bit of de-plasticizing my family, but unfortunately so much outside our home is made up of plastic. This is a scary topic, and more people need to be aware of it.
 

John S. (303)
Tuesday June 25, 2013, 5:40 am
Your right Kit, women have more complicated systems than men, that's why they cost more under the old insurance plans. I can't help but believing that BPA has something to do with it, but probably not by as much as what is inside the bottles/cans.
 
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