Yesterday, when I read the MNN post about a recent study that has found a strong link between BPA and childhood obesity, I was angry. Really angry. And shocked by how high the numbers were.
According to the study, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, white children who were exposed to high levels of bisphenol A, or BPA, were five times more likely to be obese than children with lower levels. Five times!
I was also confused as to why BPA would seemingly affect white children more than children of another ethnicity. According to the post, "black children with higher BPA levels were 1.25 times more likely to be obese than those with lower levels, which the scientists said is not statistically significant. Hispanic children had the same rates of obesity at the highest and lowest levels."
The study's researchers theorize that it is possible that there is a genetic difference that would make BPA affect one population of kids more than another; it's also possible that higher rates of obesity among black and Hispanic children overall made it difficult to pinpoint an association with BPA.
Still, that the link was so clear in white children leads me to believe that the chemical is having more of an effect than any of us realized on the health of our children. And that just stinks! At 10 and 6, my daughters are old enough that BPA was not even on my radar when they were babies. I breast-fed, but they did have the occasional bottle, as well as pacifiers and teething toys. Of course, we do our best now to keep BPA out of our home, but I know they are still exposed. And the fact that our otherwise healthy lifestyle could be compromised by a chemical that I've been fighting and avoiding for years absolutely infuriates me.
And as one friend pointed out, is this just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what we don't know about the chemicals we use every day?
Why are government regulations written in such a way that we the people have to prove the negative health effects of a chemical before we can demand that a company discontinue using it? This makes no sense to me. I have no doubt that we will continue to see more studies pointing out the negative health effects of BPA on our children. And maybe in a decade or so we will finally be able to ban it, only to replace it with another chemical that we know nothing about. And in the meantime, our children will have spent many years exposed to a chemical that could alter their health for the remainder of their lives.
Related BPA stories on MNN: BPA causes interspecies mating, study finds