Can Plastics Make You Sick? More evidence BPA may cause heart disease, diabetes, liver damage – JAMA.
If you haven’t heard of bisphenol A, you will. A study coming out in the September 17 JAMA shows an association of bisphenol A (BPA) with heart disease, diabetes and lab abnormalities of the liver.
Bisphenol A is a very common chemical found in some plastics like certain children’s toys, baby bottles, the resin lining of cans and dental sealants. Although we can absorb it through the skin and inhale it, our main exposure is diet.
At JHMFD we’ve written about companies eliminating polyvinylchoride (PVC), which can contain BPA. I’ve blogged about the NIH being concerned about exposure in children. It’s a hot topic, and everyone is exposed. So what do we do?
The JAMA study consisted of 1,455 adults 18 to 74, about equally male and female. Since bisphenol A is excreted in the urine, that was how researchers measured it. Higher concentrations of bisphenol A were associated with heart attacks, angina (heart-related chest pain), coronary heart disease (clogged arteries around the heart that cause angina and heart attacks), diabetes and abnormal liver tests (suggesting liver disease or damage).
This article is one of the first to study the effect of BPA on humans. Previous studies have been on animals, showing evidence of multiple adverse effects, but animal studies don’t always cross over to humans. Future ones will probably focus on children. The NIH worries about effects on the brain, behavior and prostate gland in this group.
The NIH has some good info on BPA, with basic recommendations of:
- Don’t microwave polycarbonate plastic food containers. Polycarbonate is strong and durable, but over time it may break down from overuse at high temperatures.
- Polycarbonate containers that contain BPA usually have a #7 on the bottom.
- Reduce your use of canned foods.
- When possible, opt for glass, porcelain or stainless steel containers, particularly for hot food or liquids.
- Use baby bottles that are BPA-free.
As for me, I am not going to become obsessed but will try to avoid BPA as much as I can, keeping in mind the above recommendations. I need more information about my drinking water, whatever the source. The FDA’s current regulations say that the acceptable daily intake of BPA is 50ug/kg per day, but the animal studies have shown adverse effects at much lower levels. Hopefully the FDA will lower that standard. I think the marketplace will help. Companies are already starting to take BPA products and packaging off the shelf. I look forward to more focused studies that show more proof than just association.
In my opinion, those pregnant or who have children should be more vigilant. I would not allow children to play with BPA-containing toys if they might chew on them, and not eat or drink out of BPA-laden containers. I don’t think there’s any evidence that vinyl furniture is of consequence (unless you’re chewing on it). That’s just my 2 cents.
What are you doing, or do you think this is just another hype?