Like most moms, Vanessa Michel is worried about exposing her daughter, Evelyn, to chemicals, especially in foods.
"I want to do what's healthiest for my family and for my daughter," Michel said.
When Evelyn started eating, Vanessa started researching. She learned about BPA or bisphenol-A. The common chemical is banned in baby bottles and sippy cups, but is still in some plastic containers and in the lining of cans.
Now, a new study from Kaiser Permanente finds girls with higher-than-average levels of BPA in their body have double the risk of being obese.
"It may actually influence the levels of hormones in our body like estrogen and testosterone that are important for maintaining healthy body weight," said Dr. Leonardo Trasande of NYU Langone Medical Center.
Experts say children can be exposed to BPA very early in life.
"We need longer term studies going back to the womb, all the way through infancy, childhood and adolescence," Trasande said.
Trasande says there are ways to reduce your family's exposure to the chemical. Limit canned foods, look for products that are BPA free, and try to use glass containers, especially in the microwave.
Now 23 weeks pregnant with her second child, Michel says she is doing all those things.
"We avoid anything in cans," she said, "anything in an aluminum can."
She already knows the next addition to her family will be a little boy, and she wants him to be on the same healthy track.
In 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency reported that more than 1 million pounds of BPA are released into the environment each year.
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