Impact of bisphenols on asthma morbidity


Ubiquitous in consumer products like plastic food containers, bisphenols have been linked to pediatric asthma. A report examines whether the substance has ties to asthma morbidity.

Previous research in animals has tied bisphenol A (BPA) to the development of pediatric asthma as well as allergic airway inflammation. A study in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology looked at whether BPA and other structural analogs like bisphenol S (BPS) and bisphenol F (BPF) are also linked to asthma morbidity.1

The researchers used the data and biobanked biospecimens from children who had been enrolled in the Mouse Allergen and Asthma Cohort Study, which was created to study the impact of indoor allergens and air pollutants on the clinical markers of asthma morbidity. The children included in the study had an asthma diagnosis at least a year before enrolling in the study, were using a controller medication prescription or met National Asthma Education and Prevention Program criteria for persistent asthma, and had at least 1 asthma exacerbation in the prior year. Participants had a clinic visit at baseline and every 3 months after, for a total of at most 5 visits. Questionnaires were completed at each visit and included information about days with symptoms, rescue medication use, and asthma-related health care utilization.

One hundred and forty-eight children who were predominantly low-income and Black were enrolled in the study and provided 660 urine samples. Overall, there were consistent positive links between exposure to BPA and measures of morbidity. This included increased odds of general symptom days (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 1.40 [95% C = 1.02-1.92]), emergency department visits (aOR = 2.12 [95% CI =1.28-3.51]), and maximal symptom days (aOR = 1.36 [95% CI = 1.00-1.83]), per a 10-fold increase in BPA concentration. Sexually dimorphic effects were also noted with BPA concentrations linked to increased odds of health care utilization and symptom days. Other bisphenols such as BPS and BPF were not consistently linked to asthma symptoms or health care utilization.

The researchers concluded that exposure to BPA is linked to asthma morbidity, although the impact may vary by sex. They also believe that the findings should drive further study on how BPA exposure impacts asthma burden.


1. Quirós-Alcalá L, Hansel N, McCormack M, et al. Exposure to bisphenols and asthma morbidity among low-income urban children with asthma. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 2021;147(2):577-586.e7. doi:10.1016/j.jaci.2020.05.031

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