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Managing Editor  | October 2017

New study finds link between BPA exposure and symptoms of obesity

A study conducted by researchers at Brunel University in London (U.K.), New York University (NYU) in Manhattan, and Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam (Netherlands) reviewed 61 papers related to the connection between bisphenol A (BPA) and obesity-related measurements in rodents and concluded that early-life exposure to BPA is associated with obesity-related outcomes later in life.



A review of research indicated a link between early exposure to BPA and obesity symptoms. (Wikimedia Commons)


According to a report from Brunel University, the researchers looked for connections between BPA and body weight, fat weight, and circulating or tissue levels of triglycerides, leptin, and fatty acids.


“There were stronger positive associations between BPA exposure and obesity-related outcomes in male rodents than in females, as well as stronger positive associations at doses below the current recommended daily exposure limit used in the U.S.,” the report explained.


BPA is an organic synthetic compound that is commonly used to make plastic packaging. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has reported that BPA is safe in its current levels, but European authorities have recently labeled it a substance of very high concern.


According to the report, “BPA is mainly used in manufacturing plastics and resins used in the production of food packaging and coatings. It can leach into food and has been detected in 93% of urine samples tested in the US, as well as in amniotic fluid, neonatal blood, placenta, cord blood and human breast milk.”


Researchers found that BPA exposure led to increased fat levels, but was not necessarily associated with increased body weight. This may be reflected in the studies using high levels of BPA exposure, which is toxic and leads to overall weight loss from illness.


They are now calling on authorities to review the acceptable levels of BPA exposure to limit the impact of the compound on human development.


The research was recently published in Environmental Health Perspectives. The abstract stated:


“Overall summary estimates indicated significant positive associations between BPA and fat weight [SMD=0.67 (95% CI: 0.53, 0.81)], triglycerides [SMD=0.97 (95% CI: 0.53, 1.40)], and FFA [SMD=0.86 (95% CI: 0.50, 1.22)], and a nonsignificant positive association with leptin levels [MD=0.37 (95% CI: −0.14, 0.87)] and a significant negative association with body weight were estimated [MD=−0.22 (95% CI: −0.37, −0.06)].


“Subgroup analyses revealed stronger positive associations for most outcome measures in males and at doses below the current U.S. reference dose of 50 μg/kg/d compared with doses above the reference dose.


“It should be noted that there was substantial heterogeneity across studies for all outcomes assessed and that there was insufficient information to assess risk of bias for most studies.”

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