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Study finds link between BPA and asthma
BPA can be found on the inside of the food cans that line supermarket shelves.
March 1st, 2013
07:51 AM ET

Study finds link between BPA and asthma

The list of products containing bisphenol A is pretty long: it coats the inside of the food cans; it can be found in certain plastic containers; it is sometimes found on cash register receipts.

And the list of maladies linked to the chemical is growing longer.

The latest study, by researchers at the Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health, suggests a possible connection between BPA detected in urine samples of children and later problems with breathing.

The study

A group of 568 mothers and their children had urine samples taken - the mothers during the third trimester of pregnancy and the children at different intervals after they were born. The samples were then tested for BPA. Researchers found what can, at best, be described as a group of positive associations (not cause and effect) between BPA and breathing problems.

The results

A child's chances of suffering with asthma were increased if BPA was detected in their urine samples at ages 3, 5 and 7. In addition, when BPA was measured in urine at age 3, the chances of wheezing by ages 5 and 6 were increased. Same thing for 7-year-olds: BPA meant later problems with wheezing.

An exception to the findings occurred among children with BPA measured in their urine at 5 years of age; those children did not have problems with wheezing during follow-ups one or two years later.

"What is important is that we were seeing the association at routine low doses of exposure," said Dr. Kathleen Donohue, the lead study author.

Caveats

One anomalous finding in the study, published Friday in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: If BPA was detected in a mother's urine during her third trimester of pregnancy, there was less likelihood that her child would have breathing problems at age five - the opposite of what researchers expected.

That finding also contradicts data, presented two years ago by the Penn State College of Medicine, suggesting that high BPA levels found during the 16th week of pregnancy are associated with an increased risk of wheezing in children until age three. (One key difference between the two studies is that urine samples were taken from the pregnant women during different trimesters.)

Takeaway

The whole relationship between BPA - which is believed to be present in almost everyone in the United States because the chemical is in so many products - and ill health is a subject of debate.

On one hand there is a community of researchers finding associations between the chemical and things like childhood obesity and behavior problems. On the other are industry groups that routinely question the methodology and viability of these studies.

Somewhere in the middle are government agencies, which consider BPA to be a product of concern, but stop short of calling it dangerous.

So this latest study suggests another layer of understanding about the possible health effects of BPA, but it is far from definitive. The best that this, or any other study, can offer is a possibility.

Donohue believes that this data will be strengthened by similar studies. Then there might be a firmer ground on which to prop these findings. Until then, she reiterates that the study suggests, "an association, not causation. But it does suggest that BPA may increase asthma."


soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. SAM

    I wow,And i thought is was apssive smoking killing and making everyone fall over dead...WOWWWWWWWWW

    March 1, 2013 at 09:27 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Valdenny

      Too Cool. Agreed wholeheartedly. :)

      March 1, 2013 at 15:42 | Report abuse |
  2. joe

    Is there a correlation in the number of parents who smoke that serve canned food becasue they cannot afford fresh or frozen food due to the cost of smoking?

    March 1, 2013 at 10:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Matt

    Woah, way to skew the debate and change the conversation guys!

    March 1, 2013 at 11:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. William

    "...On one hand there is a community of researchers finding associations between the chemical and things like childhood obesity and behavior problems. On the other are industry groups that routinely question the methodology and viability of these studies".

    Any company that continues to use "questionable" chemicals doesn't seem too interested in their customers. How about they meet in the middle and agree to stop using them because its the 'right' thing to do.

    March 1, 2013 at 12:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Patrick

      Because then everyone complains when they raise the prices of their food etc because they have to use more expensive and less questionable methods.

      Sadly their stock holders and board won't think too highly of this. Until someone forces them to do something, money will always be the deciding factor...

      March 1, 2013 at 12:33 | Report abuse |
  5. crking71

    BPA needs to be banned in ALL products NOW!!!!

    March 1, 2013 at 13:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. lyra

    kk

    March 1, 2013 at 14:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Valdenny

    This is complete idiocy. Our little kids today are suffering from overly sterile conditions. None of them are allowed to be subjected to germs like the kids from previous generations. Their parents are spraying Lysol disinfectant all over the house, including the ivory keys of the piano. Then they're wiping down everything that doesn't move with Clorox sheets. We never had this high incidence of childhood asthma when I was a kid. The body is the greatest machine ever invented, but you have to let it do its job to be fully effective. Quit blaming it on everything else. It's ludicrous.

    March 1, 2013 at 15:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • SixDegrees

      Asthma has nothing at all to do with bacteria, viruses or sanitation, excessive or otherwise.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:17 | Report abuse |
  8. OldMo

    I played soccer, baseball, lacrosse and rugby growing up and I never saw one person on my team or an opposing team sucking on an inhaler. Fast-forward not that many years to one of my nephew's soccer games and I was shocked to see how many of the little tykes had to go to the sidelines so mom or dad could give them a hit of their asthma meds. Everything from chemicals like BPA to what they're doing to our food to vaccines to what they spray in the air that has caused thing to go south very quickly. I just wonder how quickly we're going to accelerate downhill from here?

    March 1, 2013 at 16:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • JG

      interesting so 2 likely causes:
      1) Perhaps They are the same type kids that didnt play sports in your generation because they where not able to get access to medicine that allowed them to participate, drugs have helped a lot of children to lead active lives.
      or 2) they are jacked up to win ->condider their role models – perhaps they Lance Armstrong's kids? they must win at all costs

      March 2, 2013 at 10:43 | Report abuse |
    • SixDegrees

      "growing up and I never saw one person on my team or an opposing team sucking on an inhaler."

      That's because asthmatics were discouraged from participating in sports, and schools often forbade them from doing so in the past.

      It's also because of your selective, partially fictional memory of how things used to be.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:18 | Report abuse |
    • Stiv

      His memory may be a bit selective, but what isn't is the national childhood obesity figures that have been growing inexorably for years. If you don't believe the studies then use your eyes. Go take a look at a few pictures of some 2nd grade classes from the 1970's. Then go look at a second grade class now. There's an obvious difference in the the appearance of the children. They're not only bigger (a pleasant way of saying it) ... they also look much less healthy.

      March 4, 2013 at 10:21 | Report abuse |
  9. guest

    how does it account for bottle vs breastfed children?

    March 1, 2013 at 16:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • arosebyanyother

      Mine were exclusively breastfed. One has asthma one doesn't. There are many, many more factors that contribute to asthma. This study looks at one of many variables.

      March 2, 2013 at 17:13 | Report abuse |
    • Sunny

      And mine were exclusively bottlefed. One has slightly reactive airways, one doesn't.

      March 2, 2013 at 22:10 | Report abuse |
  10. Parent

    its all in a parents head about how much medicine they want to shove down their kids throat.....some things i understand require shots but as for everything else dealing with some pain makes a child strong rather than baby them with a pill and make them addicted to pills

    March 1, 2013 at 17:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kelcy

      Clearly you have never had a child unable to suck in a breath of air. If you had then you would not be quite so belittling.

      March 1, 2013 at 22:25 | Report abuse |
  11. Katie

    BPA is probably ONE factor in the huge rise in asthma in kids. No doubt the sheer amount of 'acceptable' levels of chemicals in water, air, and soil, have a lot to do with it, as does the amount of plastic used in everything, passive cigarette smoke, and the the amount of processed, synthetic, and GMO foods most people consume.

    March 3, 2013 at 19:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Bill

    BPA and thousands of marginally tested chemical all mixed into a stew. They don't fund real tests on what they give us because they know from their own tests we are doomed.

    March 3, 2013 at 20:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. lovingrose

    Great information. http://astraunic.com/2013/05/03/asthma/

    May 4, 2013 at 01:12 | Report abuse | Reply

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.