By Tom Philpott
The food industry likes to portray obesity as a matter of personal responsibility: People who eat too much gain weight, and it's their own fault.
That view willfully neglects the role that industry marketing, particularly to children, plays on shaping people's food habits. Meanwhile, evidence is mounting that exposure to certain industrial chemicals in food, often at very low levels, changes the way people metabolize calories and can lead to weight gain. While no one would say that these chemicals, known as obesogens, are the sole cause of rising rates of obesity in the US, they may well be contributing significantly to it.
One of the most common of these obesogens, as they have become known, is bisphenol A, commonly known as BPA, the ubiquitous chemical found in everything from the lining of cans to the paper that most receipts are printed on. Research suggest that it's in the urine of upwards of 90 percent of Americans—evidently at levels high enough to cause harm.