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Your Environment. Your Health.

Higher BPA Levels Linked to Worse Asthma in Children

Elizabeth Matsui, M.D.
Johns Hopkins University
P50ES018176, R01ES022607, R01ES023500, R21ES025840, R01ES023447, R01ES026170

NIEHS grantees found that children, especially boys, with elevated levels of bisphenol A (BPA) in their urine had more asthma symptoms. The study is the first to examine children’s exposure to BPA and its common replacements bisphenol S (BPS) and bisphenol F (BPF), with respect to asthma severity. BPA, used to make polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins, may be present in dental sealants, the lining of food and drink cans, toys, plastic dinnerware, and other consumer products. Most people are exposed through their diet.

The study included 148 children with asthma from low-income neighborhoods aged 5 to 17 years. Participants, most of whom were Black, were part of the Mouse Allergen and Asthma Cohort Study, conducted between 2007 and 2009 in Baltimore. The researchers analyzed stored urine samples and data from clinical visits, including asthma symptoms, health care visits, lung function, and inflammation.

A 10-fold increase in urinary BPA levels was associated with a 40% increase in the chance of children experiencing coughing, wheezing, or chest tightness. Similarly, for each 10-fold increase in urinary BPA, the chances of asthma-related acute care or emergency-room visits increased by 84% and 112%, respectively. Both increased asthma symptoms and health care visits were statistically significant only for boys. Higher BPS or BPF levels were not consistently associated with more asthma symptoms or health care visits.

Given widespread exposure to BPA and high prevalence of child asthma in the U.S., the researchers called for additional studies to verify their findings. If confirmed, children with asthma may benefit from reduced contact with BPA, say the researchers.

Citation: Quiros-Alcala L, Hansel NN, McCormack M, Calafat AM, Ye X, Peng RD, Matsui EC. 2020. Exposure to bisphenols and asthma morbidity among low-income urban children with asthma. J Allergy Clin Immunol. doi:10.1016/j.jaci.2020.05.031 [Online 28 July 2020]

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