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Asthma rates in children have been climbing over the last thirty years, and experts have identified a number of environmental pollutants, such as tobacco smoke and airborne pollutants, as risk factors for the disease. Some researchers have added the hormone-disrupting chemical bisphenol A (BPA) to the list of potential risk factors for the development of asthma.

In a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Pediatrics, researchers found that every ten-fold increase in urinary BPA concentration was associated with a 14.2 percent decrease in lung function as measured by the forced expiry volume in the first second of expiration (FEV1) test. They also found a 54.8 percent increase in the odds of wheezing.

“If future studies confirm that prenatal BPA exposure may be a risk factor for impaired respiratory health, it may offer another avenue to prevent the development of asthma,” noted the researchers.

The study involved 398 mother-infant pairs, and urine samples were collected from the mothers at 16 and 26 weeks of pregnancy, and from their children each year. Raised BPA levels in mothers were linked to impaired breathing, but raised BPA levels in the children themselves was not.

More studies are needed to confirm the results and expand on our knowledge of just how this hormone disrupting chemical affects lung function in children. Until then, there are plenty more reasons to avoid this toxin.