Urinary Bisphenol (BPA) is a widely used biomarker of exposure of BPA and had been linked to cardiometabolic derangements in laboratory studies and with low-grade albuminuria (urinary protein loss) in Chinese adults. Despite the known unique vulnerability of children to environmental chemicals, no studies have examined associations of urinary BPA with albuminuria in children according to the studies abstract.
According to Dr. Leonardo Trasande, MD, MPP, associate professor of pediatrics, environmental medicine, and population health at NYU School of Medicine and co-author of study, laboratory studies suggest low levels of BPA increase oxidative stress and inflammation that promotes protein leakage into the urine, which is a biomarker for early renal impairment and future risk of developing coronary heart disease, like the ones identified in this national survey of children and adolescents.
With exposure being wide spread in the United States, researchers examined data of 710 children and adolescents aged 6 to 19, in the 2009–10 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey with urinary BPA measurements and first morning urine samples with creatinine values. Creatinine is a breakdown product of creatine, which is an important part of muscle. Creatinine is removed from the body entirely by the kidneys.
The researchers controlled for risk factors such as hypertension, insulin resistance, and elevated cholesterol, exposure to tobacco smoke, race/ethnicity, and caregiver education, poverty to income ratio, age, weight and gender in these children.
Researchers found children with the highest amount of BPA in their urine in comparison to the lowest levels had a higher albumin to creatinine ratio, a potential early marker of renal impairment and future risk of developing coronary heart disease, according to the study. Albumin is a protein made by the liver. Albumin helps move many small molecules through the blood, including bilirubin, calcium, progesterone, and medications. It plays an important role in keeping the fluid from the blood from leaking out into the tissues.
Dr. Howard Trachtman, MD, of NYU School of Medicine's Department of Pediatrics, and co-lead author of study stated "While we excluded children with pre-existing kidney disease from our analysis, I am concerned that BPA exposure may have even greater effects on children with kidney disease.” He adds "Because their kidneys are already working harder to compensate and have limited functional reserve, they may be more susceptible to the adverse effects of environmental toxins. We clearly need further study of BPA exposure and its effects on the kidney both in healthy children and in children who have pre-existing kidney disease."
The researchers write “Our findings broaden the array of adverse effects of BPA to include endothelial dysfunction as evidenced by the low-grade albuminuria and support proactive efforts to prevent harmful exposures.”
The researchers note the study’s findings cite the need for further research on environmental chemicals and cardiovascular disease and further study may change the understanding "from one that focuses on dietary risks to an approach that recognizes the role of environmental chemical factors that may independently impart the risk of … future cardiovascular disease."
Dr. Teresa Attina, MD, PhD, Departments of Pediatrics, and Medicine, at NYU School of Medicine was the other co-author of the study.
This study is published online in Kidney International.
BPA exposure, even at very low doses, creates risks of dangerous developmental, neural and reproductive health effects in infants and children.
More information on BPA can be found online at National Capital Poison Control.