BPA May Be Linked to Heart Disease Risk
Study Shows Higher Levels of Chemical Mean Higher Risk of Heart Disease
BPA: Possible Health Effects continued...
The American Chemistry Council, a group representing the chemical industry, has in the past defended the safety of BPA. In a written statement provided to WebMD, Steven G. Hentges, PhD, of the ACC's Polycarbonate/BPA Global Group, says the Metzer study does not prove a link between BPA and heart disease.
"Studies of this type are very limited in what they tell us about potential impacts on human health. While they can provide helpful information on where to focus future research, by themselves they cannot and should not be used to demonstrate that a particular chemical can cause a particular effect," Hentges says in a news release. "The study itself does not establish a cause-and-effect relationship between BPA exposure and heart disease."
But Gina Solomon, MD, senior scientist at the environmental group National Resources Defense Council, says the study is a missing piece that helps to solve the BPA puzzle.
"Already we know that BPA is associated with diabetes and metabolic disturbances, so it is not surprising this carries out to heart disease," Solomon tells WebMD. "These results make sense and really increase our level of concern that BPA is a public health threat."
Solomon also sees a silver lining in the finding that BPA levels dropped by nearly a third from 2003-2004 to 2005-2006.
"This is showing that the voluntary actions taken by manufacturers to remove BPA from their products may be having an effect," she says. "But even the lower levels found in this study are still linked to health effects, so more action needs to occur to protect the public."
Reducing BPA Exposure
The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) says there is some concern about BPA safety for fetuses, infants, and children but negligible concern over the chemical's reproductive toxicity for adults.
There's no way to avoid BPA entirely: It's in food, water, and air. But the NIEHS offers this advice for people who want to reduce their exposure to BPA:
- Don’t microwave polycarbonate plastic food containers. Polycarbonate is strong and durable, but over time it may break down from overuse at high temperatures.
- Polycarbonate containers that contain BPA usually have a No. 7 on the bottom, although not all containers with a No. 7 contain BPA.
- Reduce your use of canned foods.
- When possible, opt for glass, porcelain, or stainless steel containers, particularly for hot food or liquids.
- Use baby bottles that are BPA-free.
The current Melzer study appears in the online journal PLoSOne.