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Asthma is chronic inflammatory disease of the respiratory system characterized by bronchial spasms, wheezing, and difficulty breathing. Findings from a new study suggest that exposure to bisphenol-A (BPA) worsens the symptoms of childhood asthma.

BPA is a chemical used during the production of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. BPA is an endocrine disruptor that can mimic naturally occurring hormones in the body like estrogens, androgens, and thyroid hormones, potentially altering normal hormonal signals. BPA exposure is widespread due to extensive use of plastics and other BPA-containing products. Two related products, bisphenol-S (BPS) and bisphenol-F (BPF), are common replacements for BPA, and some evidence suggests that their use may carry similar risks.

The authors of the present study measured concentrations of BPA, BPS, and BPF in urine samples from 148 children between the ages of five and 17 years who had asthma. The children were predominantly low-income and African American.

Analysis of the urine samples revealed that BPA exposure was associated with more frequent asthma episodes and more asthma-related emergency department visits, but these findings were only true among boys. Exposure to BPS and BPF was not associated with asthma symptoms or hospital visits.

These findings suggest that BPA exposure negatively affects boys with asthma. They also underscore the need for reducing exposure among children, especially those with asthma.

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