Sunday, December 28, 2008

Can Chemicals Used in Plastic Containers Also Lead to Heart Disease?

In 2003, more than 2 million metric tons of bisphenol A (BPA) were produced worldwide. Since then, the demand for this compound has increased by between 6 and 10 percent yearly. BPA is a chemical commonly used in baby bottles and plastic food containers.

A report published in the September 17 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) linked BPA to diabetes, heart disease and liver abnormalities in adults. 1,455 adults were involved in the study.

According to the researchers, adults with the highest concentrations of BPA in their urine had nearly tripled the chances of cardiovascular disease, as compared to those with the least amounts of BPA in their systems. Meanwhile, they also found that adults with the highest BPA levels also had more than double the odds of getting diabetes.

In other words, higher urinary concentrations of BPA were shown to be associated with increased probabilities of developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and liver-enzyme abnormalities.

BPA is found in detectable levels in more than 90 percent of Americans not only through food but also through drinking water, dermal exposure, dental sealants and inhalation of household dusts.

In fact, a report published earlier during September 2008 by a group of toxicologists at the National Institute of Health (NIH) also revealed that the chemical found in many food containers, plastic bottles and dental fillings could have dangerous effects on the development of the brain and prostate gland fetuses and newborn babies. It is believed that BPA would interfere with estrogen, which is the hormone that plays a key role in fetal and childhood development.

Nevertheless, in a hearing on September 16, 2008 in Washington into the safety of BPA, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) insisted that BPA is safe because at the current levels of exposure, a margin of safety does exist, which is sufficient to protect consumers including adults and children.

Likewise, the industry group American Chemistry Council also maintains that BPA should not cause any health hazard at the levels currently contained in some consumer products, which is also in line with the conclusion of governments worldwide. They feel that more follow up studies are necessary to support a conclusion that BPA would cause any disease.

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