A few years ago, my husband bought us new metal water bottles because we tend to just reuse plastic bottles we buy at the store, and he was worried about ingesting too much BPA. I didn’t actually know anything about BPA in water bottles, so I looked it up. Apparently it’s used in a huge amount of products we use every day, including some baby bottles.

BPA is chemical found in hard plastics and it can act and behave like estrogen and other hormones in the body. It’s basically an endocrine disruptor that interferes with producing, secretion, transportation, function, and elimination of natural hormones in the body. As you might imagine, that’s not very healthy and the fact that it’s used in baby bottles it a little alarming.

A University of Michigan research team also found this interesting and began to study what effects BPA in children’s products would have on children. It was found that BPA might be causing children to be more at risk of obesity and have adverse body fat levels.

Lead author of the study, Dr. Donna Eng, remarked that "studies in adults had shown an association between high BPA levels and obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, but little was known about its effects in children.” The team from UM tested the urine of the children participating in the study for BPA levels, and then measured the children’s body fat, waist circumferences, and cardiovascular and diabetes risk factors.

The research discovered that children with higher levels of BPA in their systems tended to have a higher chance of being obese. Obesity in the study was defined as a BMI that is above the 95th percentile. Children with higher amounts of BPA in their system were also more likely to have an abnormal waist circumference-to-height ratio.

The good news is that increased levels of BPA were not found to be associated with factors that indicate chronic disease, such as high insulin and glucose levels, or light levels of cholesterol. Based on the evidence they gathered, the research team concluded that there is a possible link between childhood obesity and exposure to BPA. 

Many manufacturing companies have been recalling their products that contain BPA in the last few years because of the speculated harmful effects of BPA on children and other people who may be vulnerable to the effects.  Also, many countries and several states in the US have banned the selling of children’s products that contain BPA just to be safe.

Source: University of Michigan Health System (2013, August 19). High BPA levels in children associated with higher risk of obesity and abnormal waist circumference. ScienceDaily.