Americans may be growing fat not only from the foods we eat, but from the hormone-disrupting materials in which those foods are given to us. Via the Smithsonian:
Since the 1960s, manufacturers have widely used the chemical bisphenol-A (BPA) in plastics and food packaging. A study by researchers from New York University, published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association, looked at a sample of nearly 3,000 children and teens across the country and found a “significant” link between the amount of BPA in their urine and the prevalence of obesity.
The researchers speculate on a possible underlying mechanism, alluding to other studies that have shown that the chemical may disrupt mechanisms of human metabolism in ways that increase body mass. They also note studies that have revealed associations between urinary levels of BPA and incidences of adult diabetes, cardiovascular disease and abnormal liver function.
The vast majority of BPA in our bodies comes from ingestion of contaminated food and water. The compound is often used as an internal barrier in food packaging. When heated or washed, plastics containing BPA can break down and release the chemical into the food or liquid they hold. As a result, roughly 93 percent of the U.S. population has detectable levels of BPA in their urine.