Plastics Chemical Linked to Disease in Adults

Friday, 17 Oct 2008 10:06 AM

By Sylvia Booth Hubbard

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Bisphenol A or BPA, a chemical found in plastics, has been linked to some of the most deadly and rapidly increasing medical conditions in American adults.

A research team from the University of Iowa, the Peninsula Medical School, the University of Exeter, and the University of Plymouth found evidence that links BPA to heart disease and diabetes in adults. BPA, which is used in polycarbonate plastic products such as refillable water bottles, some plastic eating utensils, compact disks and many other everyday products, is one of the world’s most widely-used chemicals.

Earlier studies in mice and rats shown that exposure to BPA could lead to diabetes, liver damage, obesity, and insulin resistance. Earlier this year, experts raised the concern that BPA could leach into plastic baby bottles and cause developmental and reproduction problems.

The current research, which examined a representative group of 1455 adults between the ages of 18 and 74, found that the 25 percent with the highest concentration of BPA in their urine were more than twice as likely to have heart disease and diabetes as the 25 percent with the lowest BPA levels.

“Our study has revealed, for the first time, an association between raised BPA loads and two common diseases in adults,” said Professor David Melzer, professor of Epidemiology and Public health at the Peninsula Medical School who lead the team. At the moment, we can’t be absolutely sure that BPA is the direct cause of the extra cases of heart disease and diabetes. If it is, some cases of these serous conditions could be prevented by reducing BPA exposure.”

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