Higher levels of urinary Bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical compound
commonly used in plastic packaging for food and beverages, is
associated with cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and
liver-enzyme abnormalities, according to a study in the September 17
JAMA. This study is being released early to coincide with a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hearing on BPA.
is one of the world's highest production–volume chemicals, with more
than two million metric tons produced worldwide in 2003 and annual
increase in demand of 6 percent to 10 percent annually, according to
background information in the article. It is used in plastics in many
consumer products. "Widespread and continuous exposure to BPA,
primarily through food but also through drinking water, dental
sealants, dermal exposure, and inhalation of household dusts, is
evident from the presence of detectable levels of BPA in more than 90
percent of the U.S. population," the authors write. Evidence of adverse
effects in animals has created concern over low-level chronic exposures
in humans, but there is little data of sufficient statistical power to
detect low-dose effects. This is the first study of associations with
BPA levels in a large population, and it explores "normal" levels of
David Melzer, M.B., Ph.D., of Peninsula Medical
School, Exeter, U.K., and colleagues examined associations between
urinary BPA concentrations and the health status of adults, using data
from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES)
2003-2004. The survey included 1,455 adults, age 18 through 74 years,
with measured urinary BPA concentrations.
The researchers found
that average BPA concentrations, adjusted for age and sex, appeared
higher in those who reported diagnoses of cardiovascular diseases and
diabetes. A 1-Standard Deviation (SD) increase in BPA concentration was
associated with a 39 percent increased odds of cardiovascular disease
(angina, coronary heart disease, or heart attack combined) and diabetes.
dividing BPA concentrations into quartiles, participants in the highest
BPA concentration quartile had nearly three times the odds of
cardiovascular disease compared with those in the lowest quartile.
Similarly, those in the highest BPA concentration quartile had 2.4
times the odds of diabetes compared with those in the lowest quartile.
addition, higher BPA concentrations were associated with clinically
abnormal concentrations for three liver enzymes. No associations with
other diagnoses were observed.
"Using data representative of the
adult U.S. population, we found that higher urinary concentrations of
BPA were associated with an increased prevalence of cardiovascular
disease, diabetes, and liver-enzyme abnormalities. These findings add
to the evidence suggesting adverse effects of low-dose BPA in animals.
Independent replication and follow-up studies are needed to confirm
these findings and to provide evidence on whether the associations are
causal," the authors conclude. "Given the substantial negative effects
on adult health that may be associated with increased BPA
concentrations and also given the potential for reducing human
exposure, our findings deserve scientific follow-up."