Study Finds BPA Exposure Connected to High Blood Pressure, FDA Maintains Its Safety

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A new study finds that BPA exposure (bisphenol-A) may cause temporary spikes in blood pressure, putting people with high blood pressure at a greater risk of heart attack.

BPA is the chemical used in some plastics, particularly the linings of canned goods and beverages, and it’s also common in thermal cash register receipts.

Korean researchers from Seoul National University College of Medicine in South Korea found that people who drank beverages from cans lined with BPA plastic experienced temporary blood pressure increases.

The study was published in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension, and the urinary BPA concentration “increased after consuming canned beverages by more than 1,600 percent compared with that after consuming glass bottled beverages,” the study authors noted. “Systolic blood pressure adjusted for daily variance increased by 4.5 mmHg after consuming two canned beverages compared with that after consuming two glass bottled beverages, and the difference was statistically significant.”

According to NBC News, “Environmental groups have been lobbying for years for the Food and Drug Administration to ban bisphenol A.” It’s a substance banned in several other countries, and while the FDA has restricted BPA from being used in some infant and children’s products, it continues to insist the chemical is safe.

The FDA has once again ruled that current levels of BPA in canned goods, household items and register receipts do not pose health risks even amid a sea of new research linking it to obesity and heart disease. “The available information continues to support the safety of BPA for the currently approved uses in food containers and packaging,” FDA said.

Smaller doses of BPA may have more endocrine-disrupting effects on individuals as well, making the approved “low level” exposure a significant risk.

Some manufacturers have voluntarily begun removing BPA from products, but BPA-free items may be even more harmful to human health than BPA, according to research.

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Source: Yun-Chul Hong, M.D., Ph.D., chair, department of preventive medicine, director, Environmental Health Center, Seoul National University College of Medicine, South Korea; Steven Gilbert, Ph.D., director and founder, U.S. Institute of Neurotoxicology and Neurological Disorders, Seattle; statement, Steven Hentges, Ph.D., Polycarbonate/BPA Global Group, American Chemistry Council; Dec. 8, 2014, Hypertension, online

Image: Alex Grant