The Link Between BPA and Heart Disease

New research from the Peninsula Medical School and the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom has confirmed the results from an earlier study showing a link between bisphenol-A (BPA) exposure and cardiovascular disease.  Bisphenol A is a chemical used to make hard, clear plastic and epoxy resin and can be found in such everyday items as plastic food and drink containers and it can leach into food and drink.

Study researchers compared data from the U.S. government's National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which measured the urinary concentrations of BPA levels in 1,455 people in 2003-2004 and 1,493 people in 2005-2006 and found that one-quarter of the population with the highest levels of BPA were more than twice as likely to report having heart disease or diabetes compared to one-quarter of the population with the lowest BPA levels

However, the researchers cautioned that the higher levels didn't necessarily mean that BPA causes people to have heart problems-it might be that having heart disease could affect the way the body handles BPA, somehow boosting its levels.

The U.S. to Study Health Effects of BPA

Over the years, BPA has raised concerns over health risks to babies because some baby bottles are made with BPA, but so far only Canada, Chicago and Suffolk County, New York, have banned the use of BPA in the manufacture of baby bottles and children's products. However, in January, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reversed its position on BPA, expressing "some concern about the potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and children," and committed resources to fund research on BPA in both animals and humans. Research would also involve the potential effects of BPA on behavior, obesity, diabetes, reproductive disorders, cancer, asthma and heart disease in adults.

How to Avoid BPA

If you're concerned about BPA exposure, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services recommends the following:

  • Throw away scratched or worn out plastic containers that contain BPA. You can tell if a plastic container is made with BPA by the recycling number on the bottom. Avoid the ones labeled 3, 6 or 7. Containers labeled 1, 2 or 5 are BPA-free
  • Don't put hot liquids into BPA containers
  • Always check the labels on containers to make sure they are microwave safe