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Association between bisphenol A exposure and body mass index in Chinese school children: a cross-sectional study

He-xing Wang1, Ying Zhou1*, Chuan-xi Tang2, Jin-gui Wu2, Yue Chen3 and Qing-wu Jiang1

Author Affiliations

1 Key Laboratory of Public Health Safety of Ministry of Education, School of Public Health, Fudan University, Shanghai, 200032, China

2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of Changning district, Shanghai, 200051, China

3 Department of Epidemiology and Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

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Environmental Health 2012, 11:79  doi:10.1186/1476-069X-11-79

Published: 19 October 2012



There is increasing evidence suggesting that Bisphenol A (BPA), one of the highest volume chemicals produced worldwide, can interfere with the body’s natural weight control mechanisms to promote obesity. However, epidemiological studies for this are limited, especially for children.


A cross-sectional study was conducted to investigate the association between BPA exposure and body mass index (BMI) in school children. Three primary and three middle schools were randomly selected from 26 primary and 30 middle candidate schools in Changning District of Shanghai City in China. According to the BMI-based criteria by age and sex for screening of overweight or obese children, we randomly chose 20 obese, 10 overweight, and 30 normal weight children aged 8-15 years of age from each selected school. First morning urine was collected and total urine BPA concentrations were determined by ultra-performance liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry. Multiple linear regression analysis was conducted to examine the association of urine BPA concentrations and daily intake estimates with BMI.


BPA was detected in 84.9% of urine samples with a geometric mean of 0.45 ng/mL. The daily intake estimates ranged from 0.03 μg/day to 1.96 μg/day with a geometric mean of 0.37 μg/day. The average urine BPA concentrations and daily intake estimates were similar for boys and girls, but significantly higher in older children than younger ones, and showed an increasing trend with BMI. Multiple linear regression analyses showed that urine BPA concentrations were significantly associated with increasing BMI values in all subjects after adjustment for age and sex and the results were similar before and after corrected by urine specific gravity. When stratified by age or sex, the associations remained significant in females and in those 8-11 years of age before corrected by specific gravity. Similar results were shown for the association between BMI and daily intake estimates.


There is a possibility that BPA exposure increases BMI in school children. Given the cross-sectional nature of this study, longitudinal studies are warranted to confirm BPA exposure as a contributor to increased BMI in children.

Bisphenol A; Urine; Body mass index; Obesity; School children