Clues to Weight in Certain Plastics

BPA linked to risk of being overweight in preteen girls but not in boys

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Plastics have made life easier for millions of people across the world. Yet some plastics may contain compounds, like BPA, that are linked to health issues.

A recent study found that the compound BPA is linked to being overweight in girls aged 9 to 12.

BPA stands for bisphenol-A. It is commonly found in hard plastics. It is also found in tin can linings, cash register receipts and in other common items.

The link between BPA and being overweight did not appear for boys or girls of different ages in this study.

"Look for BPA-free products."

The study, led by De-Kun Li, MD, PhD, of the Kaiser Foundation Research Institute of Kaiser Permanente in California, looked at whether BPA might be linked to kids' weight.

The researchers studied 1,326 students from an elementary school, a middle school and a high school in Shanghai, China.

The children provided urine samples that were tested for concentration of BPA.

The researchers compared these levels among the students in terms of their weight.

They specifically looked at the levels in students who were above the 90th percentile for their age and gender in weight.

The researchers found that girls aged 9 to 12 with BPA levels of at least 2 micrograms per liter of urine were twice as likely to have a weight above the 90th percentile.

These levels of 2 micrograms per liter are typically the middle amount found in the urine of people in the US — about half have higher levels and half have lower levels.

The researchers also found that the girls were more likely to be overweight as the amount of BPA found in their urine increased.

For example, girls with more than 10 micrograms per liter of BPA in their urine were about five times more likely to be overweight (above the 90th percentile).

No links between BPA levels in urine and being overweight were found for boys in the study. Girls older than 12 or younger than 9 also did not show any links.

The study was published June 12 in the journal PLOS ONE. The research was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China. The authors declared no conflicts interest.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
June 12, 2013
Last Updated:
August 7, 2013