BPA Levels Higher In Those With Heart Disease Or Diabetes

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)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Eilonwynn says:

    Correlation does not equal Causation – could just mean that they’re absorbing it more than others, as well.

  2. invisibelle says:

    Might have something to do with the chemical getting stored in fat. Just a guess from that semester of environmental science I took in college…

    • couldbebopeep says:

      @invisibelle: bisphenol A is an endocrine system disruptor, it mimics the hormone estrogen which is a steroid. the only fat soluble hormones are steroids. so you’re on the right track…

  3. zingbot says:

    What is that picture? Crazy scary.

  4. iMe2 says:

    Is that a severed arm?

  5. TVarmy says:

    Perhaps it has something to do with how quickly the body metabolizes it? Maybe people less likely to have those diseases metabolize it quicker?

  6. kendallcorner says:

    There was a study a couple of years ago that said that people who drink diet sodas are more likely to be overweight than others … oh gee … it’s a good thing I don’t drink diet soda! Oh wait, I don’t drink it because it tastes awful and I am fine at my weight … hmm.

    Seriously folks, this is just the ‘cool thing’ to run a study on right now in ‘science.’ Wake me up when the public gets bored of the media danger story.

    And seriously, consumerist, way to pick the scariest possible picture. OOOH BPA could do THIS to YOU!!! mwahahah …

  7. Julia789 says:

    I thought chemicals are stored in fat. Aren’t those with major stores of fat more likely to have heart disease and diabetes? Likely the fat.

  8. laila says:

    Chemicals sequestered in fat are very unlikely to show up in urine. Presence in urine indicates that the chemicals are in the blood stream and are being excreted along with metabolites and waste.

  9. BeeBoo says:

    I love the photo with the severed arm. That is the best thing on Consumerist today. Thanks!

    I was going to comment on my surprise at how bloated the corpse on the left looks but I see from the comment above it’s not a photo from the bombings in New Delhi, just people pretending to be zombies.

  10. magic8ball says:

    A zombie … flash mob. I’m familiar with those two terms separately, but when you put them together in that order, confusion results.

  11. TheNerd says:

    BPA: It’ll take your arm off, one poisoned baby at a time.

  12. tundey says:

    How does this picture, with the severed arm, match up with the story? This is a WTF.

  13. sockrockinbeats says:

    I heard about this story on NPR last night. I wonder if the overweight have more BPA in their bloodstreams because they eat more plastic-wrapped junk? Bottles of soda, packages of twinkes (is BPA in that type of wrapper? hmm), etc etc…

  14. seeker1321 says:


    I thought the same thing when I saw it last night. If your downing tons of sugar/HFCS from containers that contain BPA, maybe the sugar/HFCS is to blame for the diabetes and heart disease not the BPA

  15. chicagocooper says:

    In my office having a dogs makes you 80% more likely to be over the age of 40. This must mean that having a dog makes you over the hill.

    That is the same logic as this study.

  16. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    Is BPA only found in plastics? If not, did anyone do a study to find out where the BPA in these people’s urine is coming from?

  17. TangDrinker says:

    Hmm. BPA is also used as a liner in cans.