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Higher BPA Levels, More Heart Disease?

Researchers Find Higher BPA Levels Linked With Narrower Arteries; Industry Says Study Proves Nothing
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BPA & Heart Disease: Study Details continued...

All had angiography, a test that uses dye and special X-rays to evaluate the health of the arteries.

Based on the angiography results, Melzer classified the patients as having normal arteries, or intermediate or severe coronary artery disease.

Of the 591:

  • 385 had severe coronary artery disease.
  • 86 has intermediate coronary artery disease.
  • 120 had normal arteries.

"We only had 385 with severe [coronary artery disease],'' Melzer says. "Even in that relatively small group we found very clear evidence of a link of BPA exposure with coronary artery narrowing."

A greater percentage of those with intermediate and severe disease had higher urinary BPA levels, he found.

A fairly common level of urinary BPA, Melzer says, is 3 nanograms per milliliter or more.

While 17.5% of those with normal arteries had that level or higher, 30.2% of the intermediate group and nearly 27% of the severe group did, Melzer says. In those with severe disease, BPA concentrations were found to be higher compared to those without disease.

Melzer can't explain the mechanism behind the association. He found a link, not cause and effect.

BPA is thought to be excreted quickly from the body.

However, Melzer says, "BPA might be more active in the body than we previously thought.''

BPA is a complex chemical. "What we know is, it's absorbed from the gut and processed in the liver," he says. "How much goes through the liver without being processed is a matter of controversy. It seems to circulate in the blood and get into tissues."

Groups Respond

“Small-scale studies of this type tell us very little about potential impacts of BPA on human health," says Steven Hentges, a spokesman for the American Chemistry Council.

"This study is incapable of establishing a cause-and-effect relationship between BPA exposure and coronary artery disease. While studies like these can help provide direction for potential future research, by themselves they cannot and do not demonstrate that a particular chemical can cause a particular disease.''

The new findings add to growing evidence of the BPA-heart disease link, says Sonya Lunder, MPH, senior research analyst at the Environmental Working Group.

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