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Heart Disease Health Center

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Higher BPA Levels, More Heart Disease?

Researchers Find Higher BPA Levels Linked With Narrower Arteries; Industry Says Study Proves Nothing
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Aug. 15, 2012 -- People who have higher levels of the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) in their urine may be more likely to have narrowing of their coronary arteries, a new study shows.

BPA has been used for more than 40 years in food packaging, metal food and beverage can liners, and many other products. Nearly everyone has detectable levels of BPA, says researcher David Melzer, MD, PhD, professor of epidemiology and public health at England's University of Exeter.

Melzer's new study shows an association between urinary BPA levels and the width of the coronary arteries, which supply blood to the heart.

"The people who had narrowed arteries had higher levels of BPA in their urine," Melzer says.

The study, published in PLoS One, does not prove that BPA narrowed anyone's arteries. Many factors, including diet and activity, affect heart health.

Still, Melzer says, "We need to take it seriously that BPA may be adding to the other classical risk factors for heart disease such as high lipids, high blood pressure, and smoking."

Scientists from environmental groups say the study results add to growing evidence of a link between BPA and heart disease. A spokesperson from the chemical industry says it proves nothing.

BPA: FDA's View

The FDA has been studying BPA for several years, and in July, it banned BPA's use in baby bottles and sippy cups. Most of those products were already BPA-free, after makers stopped using BPA.

Some research, done in animals, has raised potential concerns that BPA exposure might lead to multiple health problems, such as diabetes, heart disease, and reproductive disorders.

However, the FDA has said that the evidence at this time does not suggest that the very low levels of exposure to BPA via the diet are unsafe.

BPA & Heart Disease: Study Details

The new study is the fourth led by Melzer's team to find the same link.

In one previous study, Melzer found that urinary levels of BPA helped predict who would be diagnosed with heart disease.

For the new study, Melzer evaluated 591 men and women in the U.K. All were evaluated for heart disease.

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