BPA: The Rap Sheet Gets Longer
More and more studies hint that BPA, a common chemical used in some plastics, store receipts, and canned food liners, could be causing widespread damage to human health.
The latest evidence? Researchers at the Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health found a connection between early childhood exposure to bisphenol A, or BPA, and asthma.
"Asthma prevalence has increased dramatically over the past 30 years, which suggests that some as-yet-undiscovered environmental exposures may be implicated," says 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. "Our study indicates that one such exposure may be BPA."
The study, published in theJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, followed nearly 570 women. Researchers first tracked BPA breakdown materials in participants' urine during the third trimester of pregnancy to determine exposure levels. Then, they tested the children born to those mothers when they were 3, 5, and 7 years old.
After controlling for other factors, like secondhand smoke, the research found that exposure to BPA in early childhood increases the odds of children experiencing breathing problems or asthma.
Researchers couldn't pinpoint how BPA and asthma may be connected, but they do have a theory that warrants more research. "Other possible pathways may include changes to the innate immune system, but this remains an open question," Dr. Donohue says.
This study lends more evidence to earlier research, which has already found a link between BPA and several respiratory conditions.
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