Lead bisphenol A (BPA) critic Frederick vom Saal recently told The Daily that he’ll be releasing a new study soon that shows how babies exposed to BPA while in the womb may be at an increased risk for obesity. This isn’t a new theory. Past studies have also linked BPA to obesity risks. Some researchers estimate that BPA may trigger almost double the insulin that people need to break down food. Higher insulin levels, in turn can lead to wacky hormone behavior resulting in weight gain and Type 2 diabetes. vom Saal has another theory, also shown in previous research, which is that BPA exposure affects fat cells, specifically altering the development of stem cells in a fetus, thus, “Tripping a switch in the DNA” leading to increased fat cells later in life. BPA isn’t the only chemical linked to increased weight. Phthalates, PVC stabilizers, flame retardants and even mostly banned dioxins, PCBs and organochlorine pesticides have been linked to childhood and adult obesity, too.
Of course, blaming the obesity epidermic on chemicals is a slippery slope, as it could take too much responsibility out of the hands of parents. Weight, especially childhood weight, is a loaded issue, and while chemicals may play a part, you can’t ignore the basics, like healthy eating and exercise. That said, this is still interesting news, especially as we brace ourselves for upcoming FDA decision regarding BPA in packaging. I know, it has been a while, but remember how back in December 2011, the FDA finally committed to making a decision about the dangers (or not) of BPA in food and drink packaging. Well, that decision is supposed to be announced in just days, on March 31, 2012. It has taken more than 3 years, an NRDC lawsuit and a recent war waged by the chemical industry to get here, but soon we’ll find out if the FDA is going to listen to parent concerns and require that food manufacturers quit using BPA as a food additive.
Stay tuned to Inhabitots – we’re hyper interested in the FDA’s BPA safety verdict and will be posting it here as soon as they announce it.
Lead image by Flickr User Tobyotter