BPA, or bisphenol A, is a common chemical found in canned food packaging and polycarbonate shatter-proof plastic containers. The substance is used to line food and beverage cans in order to prevent corrosion and spoilage.
However, concerns about BPA’s suitability and safety in consumer products and food containers have arisen in recent years.
The chemical has been considered hormone-disrupting and has been linked to behavioral disorders, reproductive defects, impaired glucose tolerance, and obesity.
A new study suggests exposure to bisphenol A may also be the reason asthma is on the rise in the United States.
Asthma is a disorder that causes the airways of the lungs to swell and narrow, leading to wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and coughing. Asthma is caused by chronic inflammation in the airways.
When an asthma attack occurs, the muscles surrounding the airways become constricted. This reduces the amount of air passage. The condition can be triggered by allergies to mold and pollen along with dust, cigarette smoke, stress, and exercise.
There is no cure for asthma, but symptoms can be managed with lifestyle modifications and prescribed treatments.
The study results, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, divulge the association between early childhood exposure to the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) and an elevated risk of asthma in young children.
Lead author Kathleen Donohue, MD, an assistant professor of Medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and an investigator at the Center for Children’s Environmental Health at the Mailman School of Public Health, said:
“Asthma prevalence has increased dramatically over the past 30 years, which suggests that some as-yet-undiscovered environmental exposures may be implicated. Our study indicates that one such exposure may be BPA.”
To reduce exposure to BPA, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) recommends avoiding plastic containers especially marked with the numbers three and seven and eating less food sealed and stored in cans. They also suggest cooking in glass, porcelain, and stainless steel containers.
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