New research has provided more evidence that higher urine concentrations in healthy people of the estrogen-like chemical bisphenol A (BPA), used widely in plastics manufacturing and known to disrupt endocrine system functioning, raises heart disease risk.
The study, conducted by research teams from the University of Exeter, the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry and the European Centre for the Environment and Human Health, followed two groups of respondents in the European Prospective Investigation of Cancer (EPIC) led by the University of Cambridge for 10 years, 758 who developed heart disease and 861 who did not, and found higher urine concentrations of BPA in the group with heart disease, MedicalExpress and HealthCanal.com reported about the findings documented in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation.
The researchers had previously identified an association between higher risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and BPA by using two time-limited data sets collected in the United States, and this study expands upon those findings by demonstrating BPA exposure can affect future heart health, though the exact effects could not be estimated, according to the team who tested one urine sample from each participant for the 10-year follow-up.
Study leader David Melzer of the Peninsula Medical School explained the significance and limitations of this new research:
"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."
According to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), people are exposed to environmental BPA during everyday activities involving use of plastic materials: drinking and eating from containers made with BPA; playing with toys containing BPA; receiving or providing dental treatments with BPA-containing sealants; and manufacturing products with BPA.
But the health effects from low environmental exposure to the chemical remains unknown, according to the CDC fact sheet, which links to other U.S. government agency articles about BPA.
Still, Digital Journal and ScienceDaily have reported on a diverse array of recent studies linking environmental BPA exposure with serious health problems and ecosystem disruptions.
The non-profit research and lobbying organization Environmental Working Group has published recommendations for BPA-free products and has been pushing for a phase-out.