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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Maryland: Researchers Find Young, Food-Insecure Adults May Have Higher Exposures to BPA

Among adults, individuals ages 18-25 years or “emerging adults” may have the highest exposure to Bisphenol A (BPA) according to a new Environmental Research study led by Dr. Payne-Sturges, an assistant professor from the University of Maryland School of Public Health. 

BPA, a known environmental contaminant used in food wrappers, cans and other products, is linked to several adverse health outcomes in adults including miscarriage, disrupted immune function, metabolic disorders, cardiovascular disease and breast cancer. Even then, few policies limit BPA exposure for this group. 

First to examine the burden of BPA exposure among the understudied population of emerging adults, Dr. Payne-Sturges and colleagues from Arizona State and Idaho State Universities used data from the National Health and Examination Surveys from 2003–2014 to test urinary BPA concentrations in adults ages 18-25 and 26+. They also examined other factors such as food insecurity status, race/ethnicity, income, sex and education levels. 

They found that emerging adults had higher BPA exposures than adults aged 26+ and exposure levels were higher among lower income and food insecure individuals. They also found that while their exposures were higher, emerging adults’ BPA levels declined faster compared to adults aged 26+ years, raising concerns about their exposure to similarly harmful BPA alternatives.

The researchers conclude that their findings highlight the need for “additional research to identify the sources and routes of exposure to BPA and BPA replacements” and call for intervention studies to help emerging adults limit their exposure to BPA and BPA alternatives in this crucial period for health promotion and disease prevention.

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