Additional analysis showed this connection was only significant for white children and teens. The findings were similar for boys and girls. The association was not connected to similar chemicals used in sunscreens, soaps and other products, the investigators found.
BPA is nearly everywhere, Trasande said. According to study background information, nearly 93 percent of Americans aged 6 and older have detectable BPA levels in their urine.
Another expert commented on the new findings, noting that they do not prove that the chemical causes obesity.
"Like all observational studies looking at associations, this one cannot prove cause and effect," said Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center.
"It is possible that BPA is actually a cause of obesity. It could also just be a marker of, for instance, a diet made up of more processed foods that are the actual cause," he said.
It's also worth noting that obesity rates were substantial even among those in the study group with the lowest level of BPA exposure, Katz said.
An industry spokesman said there's no tie between obesity and BPA and he discounted the new findings.
"Attempts to link our national obesity problem to minute exposures to chemicals found in common, everyday products are a distraction from the real efforts under way to address this important national health issue," said Steven Hentges, of the Polycarbonate/BPA Global Group of the American Chemistry Council.
"Due to inherent, fundamental limitations in this study, it is incapable of establishing any meaningful connection between BPA and obesity," Hentges said. "In particular, the study measures BPA exposure only after obesity has developed, which provides no information on what caused obesity to develop."
Hentges added, "It is also relevant to note that dozens of studies have monitored the body weight of laboratory animals exposed to BPA. These studies found no co
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