A recent study has allegedly linked higher urinary bisphenol A (BPA) levels to a greater risk of obesity in adolescent girls, raising questions about whether BPA “could be a potential new environmental obesogen.” De-Kun Li, et al., “Urine Bisphenol-A Level in Relation to Obesity and Overweight in School-Age Children,” PLoS One, June 2012. Researchers with Kaiser Permanente apparently analyzed data from 1,325 students enrolled in grades four through 12 in Shanghai, China, to conclude that among girls ages 9-12, a urinary BPA level in excess of 2 μg/L “was associated with more than two-fold increased risk of having weight” greater than the 90th percentile of the underlying population. In addition, the study noted that the association “showed a dose-response relationship with increasing urine BPA level associated with further increased risk of overweight.”

“This finding is consistent with findings in experimental animal studies where exposure to high BPA level led to weight gain in females, but not in males,” reported the authors, who theorized that BPA could accelerate pubertal development and weight gain in girls. “As a potential environmental obesogen, BPA exposure warrants particularly careful examination given the widespread human exposure, especially considering that the exposure level is higher in young children.”

Meanwhile, industry groups have reportedly warned against taking the results out of context. “It is important that we look at the vast body of scientific evidence, rather than a single study, to draw conclusions about safety,” said a representative for the American Chemistry Council in a media statement. “BPA is among the most tested chemicals in commerce. Regulatory bodies around the world, including the [Food and Drug Administration], have reviewed the science and have concluded that BPA is safe in food contact materials.” See FoodProductionDaily.com, June 17, 2013.