A recent study has purportedly identified an association between urinary bisphenol A (BPA) concentration and obesity in children and adolescents. Leonardo Trasande, et al., “Association Between Urinary Bisphenol A Concentration and Obesity Prevalence in Children and Adolescents,” Journal of the American Medical Association, September 2012. Relying on data from 2,838 participants ages 6-19 years who were enrolled in the 2003-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, researchers evidently found that urinary BPA concentration “was significantly associated with obesity.” In particular, the study reported that urinary BPA values in the second, third and fourth quartiles showed “a substantial elevation in the odds of obesity” when compared with first-quartile values, with “an adjusted prevalence of obesity of 22.3%... among children in the highest quartile, compared with a 10.3% prevalence…among those in the lowest quartile.”

“To our knowledge, this is the first report of an association of an environmental chemical exposure with childhood obesity in a nationally representative sample,” wrote the study’s authors, who nevertheless warned that explanations of the association “cannot rule out the possibility that obese children ingest food with higher BPA content or have greater adipose stores of BPA.” As they concluded, however, “We note the recent FDA ban of BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups, yet our findings raise questions about exposure to BPA in consumer products used by older children. Last year, the FDA declined to ban BPA in aluminum cans and other food packaging, announcing ‘reasonable steps to reduce human exposure to BPA in human food supply’ and noting that it will continue to consider evidence on the safety of the chemical.”