More Health Harms for Children Exposed to BPA

Time - Health

The latest study shows the compound found in plastic and food packaging can put youngsters at risk for future heart disease. The list of health problems connected to bisphenol-A (BPA) already includes some serious conditions, from hormone abnormalities to asthma, behavioral problems and obesity. Now, new research suggests that the chemical could be harming children’s kidneys and hearts, independent of the heart issues related to obesity. (MORE: Study Finds Spikes in BPA From Eating Canned Soup) For the latest study, published in Kidney International, researchers at New York University analyzed data from 710 U.S. children and teens, ages 6 to 19, who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in 2009 and ’10. Based on previous research that uncovered a relationship between BPA and heart problems in adults, the scientists decided to focus on children, who may even be more vulnerable to the effects of chemicals in their environment. The researchers recorded the children’s BPA levels as measured in their urine and found that kids and adolescents with the highest levels of the compound also had noticeably higher levels of albumin, a protein that builds up when kidneys are damaged, than participants with the lowest levels of BPA. “This study doesn’t definitively say that BPA causes heart or kidney disease,” says the study’s lead author, Dr. Leonardo Trasande, an associate professor of pediatrics and environmental medicine at the New York University School of Medicine. “The increase in albumin leakage is fairly small, but there are studies in adults that suggest that even that small increment is associated with a higher risk of later heart disease.” (MORE: BPA Makes Male Mice Less Masculine and Less Appealing to Mates) In adults, low levels of albumin in the urine may signal impaired function of blood-vessel linings, which can increase the risk of hypertension, diabetes or heart disease. Very high levels of albumin may be a sign that the kidneys are struggling; healthy organs generally filter out large molecules like albumin, which is why albumin may also be a powerful predictor of subsequent heart