Over the last few years, the presence of bisophenol A (BPA) has been scrutinized and brought to the public's attention. Articles like this one in Time magazine detail the existence of the substance in a myriad of commonly used products and outline the health effects that have been linked with exposure. One outcome of prolonged exposure that continues to be explored is the link between BPA exposure and allergies and asthma.
Here are some compelling facts that suggest the association between BPA exposure and allergies and asthma:
- As we know, allergies to various foods have been increasing in the United States and elsewhere. According to an article featured on both Generation Rescue and Be Well Stanford, one possible link to increased allergies is the prevalence of BPA. In 2004, the CDC found BPA in the urine of nearly 100 percent of individuals tested. Since BPA is believed to exit the body quickly, it must be entering the general population on a daily basis. BPA has also been found quite common in breast milk, cord blood, and the human body itself. Furthermore, when oral tolerance is suboptimal, that is, when the ability to endure doses of a poison or toxin is decreased or compromised, BPA is associated with causing food hypersensitivities and autoimmunity.
- While BPA may cause food hypersensitivities and is linked to autoimmune disorders when oral tolerance is low, it also may be a factor in interrupting the development of oral tolerance itself. The development of oral tolerance during infancy plays an important role in the prevention of food allergies, so its compromise may lead to susceptibility to or development of allergies.
- Be Allergy Wise discusses how BPA may alter the function of immune cells with surface markers known as CD4 and CD25, which play a role in developing a proper tolerance of foods. Therefore, food sensitivity and autoimmune issues have been linked to higher levels of BPA in the body. If a child's BPA level is high, there may be increasing chances of developing a food allergy. Moreover, if the liver is impaired or the dose of BPA is fairly constant, getting rid of BPA can become a real issue. The longer BPA is in the body, the more it can disrupt normal functioning.
- In 2010, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology released findings of a study with the goal of "determining the actual threshold of the effects of BPA on allergic sensitization, airway inflammation and hyper-responsiveness. In the study, maternal exposure to 10 micro g/ml of BPA in mice enhanced the allergic sensitization and bronchial inflammation and responsiveness in their pups. This dosage mimics the human BPA burden of chronic exposure, including that of pregnant women. Previous studies by the same group had also suggested that pups born to mothers who had been exposed to BPA had an increased susceptibility to allergic asthma.
In the quest to remain informed about the factors leading to allergies and asthma, we are certainly keeping our eye on information about the link between BPA exposure and allergies and asthma. After all, the first line of defense against allergies and asthma is education.