A chemical found in everyday products from baby bottles to banknotes increases children’s risk of obesity, new research reveals for the first time.
Exposure to the hormone-disrupting chemical Bisphenol A (BPA) during rodents’ development significantly increases their risk of being severely overweight in later life, a study review found.
BPA exposure also raises fat levels in the blood, the research adds – previous studies have found this increases the risk of heart disease.
These results occur even when BPA exposure occurs in amounts below the recommended levels.
Known as the gender-bending chemical for its effects on male breast growth, the researchers believe BPA may cause obesity by altering the hormones responsible for fat metabolism.
A chemical found in baby bottles and banknotes increases children’s risk of obesity (stock)
MOTHERS-TO-BE SHOULD EAT ORGANIC: PESTICIDES INCREASE THE RISK OF BRAIN TUMOURS
Exposure to pesticides in pregnancy increases a child’s risk of developing brain tumours, new research reveals.
Such chemicals, which are commonly sprayed on to crops to prevent insect damage, raise the risk of brain cancers by 1.4 times, a study review found.
The researchers believe pesticides may contain cancer-causing compounds that cross the placenta.
Lead author Nicolas d’Egurbide Bagazgoïtia from the French Institute of Health and Medical Research, said: ‘Our findings add another reason to advise mothers to limit their exposure to pesticides around the time of pregnancy.’
Previous research suggests the most chemical-ridden produce include strawberries, spinach and nectarines, while avocados, sweetcorn and pineapples are the least likely to contain pesticides.
BPA exposure increases the risk of obesity
Researchers from Brunel University London, New York University and Vrije University in Amsterdam analysed 61 studies investigating the link between BPA exposure and weight, fat deposition and circulating lipid levels in mice and rats.
Results reveal exposure to BPA during development increases the risk of obesity in later life.
It also raises fat levels in the blood, which previous research has linked to an increased risk of heart disease.
These results occur even when BPA exposure is below the US’ recommended maximum level of 50μg/kg of body weight/day.
Other chemicals also cause weight gain
Study author Professor Juliette Legler from Brunel University, said: ‘Our study concludes that BPA is associated with several obesity-related outcomes in rodents when doses are at the same level, or often below, the current reference dose for BPA in the United States.
‘We believe [our findings] support the need to re-examine BPA safety levels for the human population.
‘This is further supported by the fact that BPA has recently been identified as an endocrine-disrupting chemical within Europe based on adverse interactions of BPA with reproductive function, mammary gland development, cognitive function and metabolism.
‘It’s important to note that although this review focused on BPA studies, other chemicals have also been identified as potential obesogenic chemicals, including several pesticides, flame retardants and phthalates, which are used in everything from food packaging to cosmetics to cleaning products.’