Bad News for BPA
New research links BPA exposure to disrupted enamel formation and childhood obesity, among other problems
Bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical compound found in many everyday plastic products, caused widespread alarm outside of dentistry in 2010, after several studies linked it to health problems. Many manufacturers of plastic bottles, particularly those used by children, were prompted to exclude the substance from their formulations.
Since the first composite resin was introduced in the 1960s, dental composites and sealants containing BPA have been developed. Within the last 25 years, researchers have reported detectable levels of BPA in patients treated with dental sealants. This year alone, more and more evidence is mounting against BPA, with new studies suggesting that exposure to BPA may have harmful effects on human health, particularly during a child’s early development years.
DAMAGED/FRAGILE TOOTH ENAMEL
New research from France has suggested that BPA exposure in children can adversely affect cells that produce tooth enamel, making it fragile or brittle. The researchers studied the effects of low daily doses of BPA on the teeth of laboratory rats. Results showed tooth enamel damage in the rats to be characteristic of a childhood tooth enamel condition called Molar Incisor Hypomineralisation (MIH), which occurs selectively in permanent incisors and first molars1.
MIH affects about 18% of children between the ages of 6 and 8. Children with MIH are highly prone to dental caries and are very susceptible to tooth sensitivity and pain. Connections between this condition and the results studied in the rats’ teeth are even stronger due to the fact that the age at which children develop their first molars and permanent incisors is the age at which studies show that humans are most sensitive to BPA.
INCREASED RISK OF CHILDHOOD OBESITY
A study examining the relationship between BPA and obesity in school-age children found that girls between 9 and 12 years of age with higher-than-average levels of BPA in their urine had double the risk of being obese than girls with lower levels of BPA2.
The study was conducted in Shanghai as part of a larger national study of puberty and adolescent health, and may provide evidence that confirms recent and past findings from animal studies – that high BPA exposure levels could increase the risk of children becoming overweight or obese.
BPA acts as an endocrine disruptor, a substance that disturbs the endocrine system. The endocrine system is a series of glands — such as the thyroid, pituitary, and adrenal glands — that releases hormones affecting sexual development, growth and metabolism. Some chemicals, like BPA, can alter hormone levels.
“Girls in the midst of puberty may be more sensitive to the impacts of BPA on their energy balance and fat metabolism,” said De-Kun Li, MD, PhD, principal investigator of the study and a reproductive and perinatal epidemiologist at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, California2.
OTHER NEGATIVE EFFECTS
Other studies have suggested that BPA exposure affects the reproductive systems of laboratory animals. A study published in January by researchers at the New York University School of Medicine found that even low levels of BPA may put children and adolescents at a higher risk of heart and kidney disease. Another recent study linked BPA exposure to childhood asthma.
Did you know that PureLife offers a variety of BPA-free products? For example, Venus Diamond and Venus Pearl composites by Heraeus Kulzer boast a patented BPA-free urethane monomer chemistry. Also, the Embrace line of cements and sealants from Pulpdent and the new Toothfairy BPA-Free Pit & Fissure Sealant from Septodont utilize an advanced BPA-free resin technology.
1 Early BPA exposure may adversely affect formation of tooth enamel. (2013, June 13). Dental Tribune.
2 Chemical in plastics may double obesity risk in puberty-age girls. (2013, June 14). Jagran Post