Study links exposure to higher levels of BPA plasticizer to more asthma symptoms in black boys

Photo shows African-American boy using an inhaler to treat his asthma.

African-American boys in low-income neighborhoods in Baltimore tended to have more asthma symptoms when levels of the plasticizer BPA (Bisphenol A) were elevated in their urine, according to a recent study.

While BPA use has fallen, many plastic products still contain the chemical. Their continued presence might have a health impact, researchers say. Studies have linked BPA exposure to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, asthma, and other conditions.

In the study, researchers examined clinical data and urine samples from a group of 148 predominately black children in Baltimore. They found consistent links between higher BPA levels in urine and measures of recent asthma severity. Boys with elevated BPA tended to have more asthma symptoms. However, researchers did not find a significant link between BPA levels and asthma symptoms among the girls studied. The findings suggest that additional studies are needed to further examine this BPA-asthma link, particularly in light of the high burden of asthma in the pediatric population and widespread exposure to BPA nationwide.

The study, partly funded by NHLBI, appeared in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.


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