BPA, a.k.a. the chemical Bisphenol A that's commonly found in plastics and may be linked to cancer, could also be linked to asthma.
A new study published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics found that prenatal exposure to BPA could lower children's lung capacity, Time reports. The researchers looked at 398 pairs of mothers and infants, analyzing their urine samples both during the mothers' pregnancies and after the children were born. Higher BPA exposure by the expecting mothers was linked to decreased lung capacity in young children:
Every 10-fold increase in the BPA concentration of maternal urine — meaning every time that number went up 10 times — was linked to about a 55 percent increase in the odds of wheezing. Lung capacity was also affected: Higher BPA concentrations during pregnancy were also linked to decreased lung capacity in four-year-olds, but by age five, that link disappeared. Once a child was born, the BPA levels in their own urine weren't associated with wheeze at all. [Time]
The researchers added that exposure to BPA during the mother's pregnancy was more detrimental than BPA exposure after birth. Adam Spanier, author of the study and an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, told Time that the link between wheezing and prenatal BPA exposure could be indicative of asthma.