Posted on 16 September 2008 by Jim Walrod
Could this be one of the causes of the rise in juvenile diabetes?
A study, published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association, has for the first time linked a common chemical used in everyday products such as plastic drink containers and baby bottles to health problems, specifically heart disease and diabetes.
Until now, environmental and consumer activists who have questioned the safety of bisphenol A, or BPA, have relied on studies showing harm from exposure in laboratory animals.
But British researchers, analyzed urine and blood samples from 1,455 U.S. adults aged 18 to 74 who were representative of the general population.
Using government health data, they found that the 25 percent of people with the highest levels of bisphenol A in their bodies were more than twice as likely to have heart disease and, or diabetes compared to the 25 percent of with the lowest levels.
A U.S. Food and Drug Administration panel of outside experts on Tuesday will hear testimony on health effects from BPA as it reviews a draft report it issued last month calling BPA safe.
BPA is used to make polycarbonate plastic, a clear shatter-resistant material in products ranging from baby and water bottles to plastic eating utensils to sports safety equipment and medical devices.
It also is used to make durable epoxy resins used as the coating in most food and beverage cans and in dental fillings.
People can consume BPA when it leaches out of plastic into liquid such as baby formula, water or food inside a container.
In the study, the team said the chemical is present in more than 90 percent of people, suggesting there is not much that can be done to avoid the chemical of which over 2.2 million tons is produced each year.
The researchers, who will also present their findings at the U.S. FDA session on Tuesday, added it was too early to identify a mechanism through which the chemical may be doing harm.
Canada’s government in April decided BPA was harmful to infants and toddlers and announced plans to ban some products.
The European Union’s top food safety body said in July the amount of BPA found in baby bottles cannot harm human health.