Higher levels of urinary BPA, or Bisphenol-A, 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 issue of JAMA.
The study comes on the heels of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) both reaffirming the safety of BPA, based on their review of scientific research conducted. In
The FDA today defended its assessment that a chemical widely used in plastic baby bottles and in food packaging is safe, AP reports. “A margin of safety exists that is adequate to protect consumers, including infants and children, at the current levels of exposure,” Laura Tarantino, a senior Food and Drug Administration scientist, told an expert panel that has been asked for a second opinion on the agency’s assessment of bisphenol A or BPA.
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 JAMA 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.
When 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.
The North American Metal Packaging Alliance was quick to put out a statement saying that the research “provides no scientifically defensible answers.”
“We are concerned about any study designed to draw inferences to chronic disorders based on incidental exposure to BPA or any other compound.,” NAMPA said in the statement. “BPA is quickly and efficiently eliminated from the body through urine. To suggest that BPA concentrations measured at a single point in time during the process of elimination from the body correlate in any way directly with serious chronic disorders is entirely unsupported and an unsubstantiated scientific leap.”