Bisphenol A exposure linked to increased risk of heart disease

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 27th February 2012

The findings of a UK study, just published, suggest that healthy people with higher urine concentrations of Bisphenol A (BpA), a controversial chemical widely used in food packaging, are more likely later to develop heart disease.

BpA is one of the world’s highest production volume chemicals. The global population is exposed to BpA primarily through packaged food and drink, but also through drinking water, dental sealants, exposure to the skin and the inhalation of household dust.

The study was carried out by researchers at the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry, the University of Exeter and the European Centre for the Environment and Human Health, in association with the University of Cambridge. The analysis was funded by the British Heart Foundation. The paper has been published online in Circulation – a Journal of the American Heart Association.

The 10-year-long study compared urine BpA measures from 758 initially healthy study respondents who later developed cardiovascular disease, and 861 respondents who remained heart disease free.

The findings of the study show that those who developed heart disease tended to have higher urinary BpA concentrations at the start of the 10-year period. According to the researchers, the extent of the effect is very difficult to estimate given that just one urine specimen from each participant was available for testing at the beginning of the 10-year follow-up.

Peninsula Medical School’s Professor David Melzer, who led the study team said, “This study strengthens the statistical link between BpA and heart disease, but we can’t be certain that BpA itself is responsible.

“It is now important that government agencies organise drug style safety trials of BpA in humans, as much basic information about how BpA behaves in the human body is still unknown.”

Professor Tamara Galloway of Biosciences at the University of Exeter, senior author on the paper, said, “If BpA itself is directly responsible for this increase in risk, the size of effect is difficult to estimate. However, it adds to the evidence that BpA may be an additional contributor to heart disease risk alongside the major risk factors, such as smoking, high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels.”