BPA, the chemical found in plastics and food containers, is a definite cause of asthma in children, researchers have confirmed this week.
BPA (bisphenol A) has been a suspected cause for years, but researchers from the Mailman School of Public Health established a definitive link after they monitored the heath of 568 women and the new born children.
In 90 per cent of the children who developed asthma, body BPA levels were very high, and the chemical was the only possible cause left after the researchers factored out other known causes, such as second-hand smoke.
“Fairly routine, low doses” of BPA increased the risk of wheezing and asthma, say the researchers.
BPA has also been linked to obesity, impaired glucose intolerance and behavioural problems.
Although the chemical was banned last year in the manufacture of baby bottles in the US, it is still widely used in food can liners. The researched recommend that parents avoid using canned food as much as possible, and choose glass, porcelain or stainless steel containers for hot food and liquids.
(Source: Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 2013; 131: 736-42).