Children With Greater Exposure to Bisphenols More Likely To Be Obese Interview with:

Melanie Jacobson, PhD, MPH Research Scientist at World Trade Center Health Registry New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene NYU School of Medicine in New York, N.Y.

Dr. Jacobson

Melanie Jacobson, PhD, MPH
NYU School of Medicine
New York, N.Y. What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Our study was about exposure to bisphenols, which are synthetic chemicals found in aluminum can linings, plastics, thermal paper receipts and other consumer products, and their association with obesity among a nationally representative sample of US children and adolescents.

We found that children who had greater levels of these chemicals in their urine were more likely to be obese compared with children with lower levels. What should readers take away from your report? 

Response: We conducted this study because exposure to these chemicals is very common in the US.  Bisphenol S (BPS) and bisphenol F (BPF) are replacement chemicals for bisphenol A (BPA), which has been decreasing in use in recent years due to concern over potential health effects.  For example, in a previous study, we found that BPA was associated with a higher prevalence of obesity in US children, and this study found the same trend among these newer versions of that chemical. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: This was a cross-sectional study, so we can’t interpret the findings to mean that these chemicals cause weight gain or obesity. Instead, this study showed a correlation between these chemicals and obesity among children and adolescents.  Future studies should evaluate bisphenol exposure in relation to children’s weight gain over time. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: If consumers want to reduce their likelihood of exposure to bisphenols, they can reduce consumption of processed foods, especially canned foods, avoid thermal paper receipts, and avoid microwaving polycarbonate plastic food containers.


Melanie H Jacobson, Miriam Woodward, Wei Bao, Buyun Liu, Leonardo Trasande. Urinary Bisphenols and Obesity Prevalence Among US Children and Adolescents. Journal of the Endocrine Society, 2019 DOI: 10.1210/js.2019-00201

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Last Updated on July 26, 2019 by Marie Benz MD FAAD