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Chemical Common in Plastic Containers Linked to Asthma

Photo by David McNew/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Young children exposed to a specific chemical, commonly present in plastic containers and metal cans used to hold food, may be at higher risk of developing asthma, according to a new study.

The report, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, found a link between exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) and increased rates of asthma among children, according to HealthDay. BPA has previously been linked to respiratory problems, obesity, increased blood sugar levels, and behavioral issues.

Dr. Kathleen Donohue, an assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, explained to HealthDay that the link between BPA and asthma is only an association, and not necessarily a cause.

Investigators studied the levels of a form of BPA that is found in urine after exposure to the chemical in 568 women and their children. The measurements were first taken during the third trimester, and then when the children were 3, 5 and 7 years old.

During each measurement, about 90 percent of the children had some BPA in their bodies. Interestingly, the researchers found that the children exposed to BPA after birth had increased rates of wheezing and asthma.

The report found no connection between exposure to BPA during the third trimester and asthma rates.

While some experts remain unconvinced, Dr. Len Horovitz, a pulmonary specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, told HealthDay, "It is unclear what the mechanism is, but it seems clear there really is a mechanism."

Horovitz recommended avoiding BPA as much as possible to HealthDay, saying that people should "stop using number 3 and number 7 plastics, use more glass containers, more metal containers."

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ABC News Radio