Chemicals found in baby bottles and other everyday products could be condemning children to a lifetime of obesity, experts have warned.
Three studies suggest that exposure early in life to "gender-bending" chemicals widely used in plastics, non-stick pans and water pipes can lead to fatness in adulthood. It is thought the chemicals alter the genes and hormones involved in maintaining a healthy weight.
Young children and unborn babies are likely to be particularly vulnerable, with just one dose potentially altering metabolism for life, the European Congress of Obesity in Geneva heard yesterday.
The chemicals include bisphenol A - found in plastic baby bottles, water bottles and tin cans - which has already been linked to breast cancer, early puberty, miscarriage and infertility.
The latest finding is likely to strengthen calls for it to be banned.
Last week, the National Childbirth Trust urged manufacturers to put warnings on baby bottles containing the oestrogen-like chemical.
Researchers from Tufts University in Massachusetts implicated bisphenol A in obesity after tracking the health of mice whose mothers had been exposed to the chemical while pregnant and nursing them.
They found the babies put on more weight than other mice as they grew up, despite eating the same quantity of food and doing the same amount of exercise.
Although the research does not prove bisphenol A causes obesity in humans, the chemical is known to leach out of plastic bottles and tin cans into food and drink. Most people have some in their blood and it has also been found in breast milk, in amniotic fluid and in the umbilical cord.
Source - Daily Mail