27 February 2012
New evidence that the commonly used plastic chemical bisphenol-A (BPA) is linked to heart disease has been provided by a European study.
The research found that initially healthy people who developed heart disease over a 10-year period were more likely to have had higher urine concentrations of BPA compared to people who did not develop the condition.
BPA is one of the world’s highest production volume chemicals, and exposure occurs through the linings of packaged food and drink containers, but it is also found in drinking water, dental sealants and household dust.
The study compared urine BPA measurements from 758 initially healthy EPIC study respondents who later developed cardiovascular disease, and 861 respondents who remained heart disease free, as part of the European Prospective investigation of Cancer – Norfolk UK study.
The study found a modestly increased risk of heart disease (11 per cent) in those participants with higher BPA exposure.
Study lead Professor David Melzer of the University of Exeter, UK, called for further research into BPA saying: “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.”
Due to its endocrine disrupting properties, the safety of BPA has been questioned since 2008 and linked to a range of health disorders including cancer and obesity as well as being banned from use in baby bottles in the European Union and Canada.
Professor Jeremy Pearson, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation (BHF), which co-funded the study, said that if there was a link between BPA and heart disease it would likely be small.
“The saturated fat, salt and sugar in pre-packaged foods are far more harmful than anything you’ll find in the packaging,” he said.
Last Reviewed: 27 February 2012