THE BRONX - There is a new reason to shun containers that are made with bisphenol A.

A study by the Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health found a link between BPA and childhood obesity.

Lori Hoepner and her fellow researchers studied 369 pregnant women from the South Bronx and Washington Heights who were in the third trimester of their pregnancies. The researchers found that 25 percent of the children born to the mothers were obese by age 7.

"There are many factors that lead to obesity," says Hoepner. "We are seeing that this could be one of the factors. We know the women were exposed to BPA because we could measure that in their urine."

The chemical is found in plastic containers such as baby bottles, sippy cups and food-storage containers as well as in metal cans that contain food.

Some health experts recommend people limit their exposure to the chemical and store their drinks and foods in glass containers.

Researchers plan to follow the study participants for the next several years, focusing on long-term exposure to BPA and its link to obesity.