Another report measuring the negative effects of bisphenol A (BPA), the chemical found in plastics that Canada has banned and that the U.S. continues to fight over, has been released. Today the Journal of the American Medical Association published a study that found that:
those with the largest amount of BPA in their urine had nearly three times the risk of heart disease and more than twice the risk of diabetes as those who had the lowest levels.
We already know there’s concern about whether BPA harms babies, but frankly this author is a baby-free grown up, and I want to know whether BPA hurts me. This study may indicate a link but the co-author says it’s not conclusive—the heightened BPA levels may be a reflection of the diets of those with heart disease and diabetes, and not a cause.
Still, there is some evidence from previous animal studies that BPA may interfere with insulin production:
“Even those with the highest BPA levels still had levels way below the currently established ‘safe’ level,” says David Melzer, an epidemiologist at the University of Exeter in England and coauthor of the study. Other researchers say there’s enough evidence from previous animal studies to suggest that BPA is harmful to adults. BPA levels that are slightly elevated but still just one-fifth the safe dose limit established by the Food and Drug Administration trigger an alarming release of insulin in the pancreatic cells of mice—and higher levels lead to pre-diabetes or insulin resistance, says Frederick vom Saal, a biologist at the University of Missouri. BPA also suppresses the release of a hormone from fat cells that normally protects against diabetes and heart disease.
“Heart Disease, Diabetes Linked to Chemical in Plastics” [U.S. News & World Report] (Thanks to Shaula!)
(Dramatization of BPA attack: Brymo)