Bisphenol a increases risk for presumed non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in Hispanic adolescents in NHANES 2003-2010

Environ Health. 2018 Feb 1;17(1):12. doi: 10.1186/s12940-018-0356-3.


Background: Bisphenol-A (BPA) is a ubiquitous chemical and recognized endocrine disruptor associated with obesity and related disorders. We explored the association between BPA levels and suspected non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

Methods: Unweighted analyses were used to study the relationship between urinary BPA levels and suspected NAFLD (alanine aminotransferase (ALT). > 30 U/L, body mass index (BMI) Z-score > 1.064 and evidence of insulin resistance) using National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data (2003-2010) on 12-19 year olds. Unweighted and weighted analyses were used to evaluate the risk with only elevated ALT.

Results: We included 944 adolescents with urinary BPA and fasting laboratory tests from a total of 7168 adolescents. Risk of suspected NAFLD was increased in the second quartile of BPA levels (1.4-2.7 ng/mL) when compared to the first (< 1.4 ng/mL) (Odds Ratio (OR) 4.23, 95% Confidence Interval (CI) 1.44-12.41). The ORs for the third and second quartiles were positive but did not reach statistical significance. The association was stronger in Hispanics (n = 344) with BPA levels in the second (OR 6.12, 95% C.I. 1.62-23.15) quartile and when limiting the analyses to overweight/obese adolescents (n = 332), in the second (OR 5.56, 95% C.I. 1.28-24.06) and fourth BPA quartiles (OR 6.85, 95% C.I. 1.02-46.22) compared to the first quartile. BPA levels were not associated with ALT elevation.

Conclusions: The risk of suspected NAFLD is increased in participants in higher quartiles of BPA exposure, particularly in those of Hispanic ethnicity. Further studies are required to fully understand the potential role of BPA in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Keywords: BPA; Insulin resistance; NAFLD; National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey; Obesity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Benzhydryl Compounds / urine*
  • Endocrine Disruptors / urine*
  • Environmental Pollutants / urine*
  • Female
  • Hispanic Americans / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / chemically induced
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / epidemiology*
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Phenols / urine*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • United States / ethnology


  • Benzhydryl Compounds
  • Endocrine Disruptors
  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Phenols
  • bisphenol A