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Common Chemical BPA Linked to Heart Disease

Common Chemical BPA Linked to Heart Disease

Bisphenol A (BPA) has been the darling of the he-said/she-said set lately. The FDA has concluded that BPA is safe, while consumer groups and some scientists say its effects on animals should cause concern about low-level chronic exposures in humans. A new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association offers some compelling evidence that should add some weight to those advocating caution.

BPA is a chemical widely used in the lining of food cans and in plastic food and beverage containers–think water bottles, baby bottles and food storage. Yikes! If you look at the recycling code on the bottom of a plastic container and see No. 7, be warned. No. 7 includes several plastic types (it’s the catchall “other” category) but it is predominantly polycarbonate. The great thing about polycarbonate is that it is shatterproof, the bad thing–it owes its durability to BPA.

According to a story published in the Chicago Tribune, the study the Journal of the American Medical Association offers the first scientific evidence that adults with higher levels of BPA in their bodies were more likely to develop heart disease, diabetes, and liver problems. The researchers found that people in the group with the highest concentration of BPA had almost three times the odds of cardiovascular disease as did those in the lowest quartile, even when factors such as race, income and education levels were accounted for. That group had a 2.4 times higher risk of diabetes. Higher BPA levels also were associated with clinically abnormal concentrations of three liver enzymes, the study reported. Researchers did not find a link to any other health problems, including cancer or respiratory disease.

As a consumer, we can limit our exposure to BPA by avoiding plastics containing BPA–specifically those with recycling code No. 7, as mentioned above. As well, almost all canned food and soda cans are lined with an epoxy resin containing BPA.

For tips on how to rid your life of BPA, read:
Storing Breast Milk
Green Girl Pans Water Bottles
Kitchen Plastic: Easy Greening

And if there’s any better motivation to skip the canned food (besides taste, cost, and overall satisfaction) this might be it. Replace canned beans with homemade beans using these methods.

Read more: Health, Children, Green Kitchen Tips, Health & Safety, Heart & Vascular Disease, , ,

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Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.


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6:30PM PST on Feb 24, 2010

Thank you for this article.

3:25PM PDT on Sep 23, 2008

im not sure if its harmful or not, but camelbak bottles doesnt have the chemical, and sigg is a metal bottle with enamel on the inside, which keeps out the metal taste. that being siad, i dont kno if it is something to worry about

7:12PM PDT on Sep 19, 2008

I have to agree with Lynn C. Although its best to be educated aboout the things we partake in during our lives, over conserning ourselves with extreem details can become too much. We can find a down side to every thing in life. The stress alone will kill us faster shaterproof plastic.In SOME cases ignorance is bliss and bliss creates healthy lives. So live on happy!

12:25AM PDT on Sep 19, 2008

I agree with you, Out ester tastes so foo but, you put it in s plactic container and it doesn't taste thr dsme at all Thankd

12:53PM PDT on Sep 18, 2008

Its fine to point out the harmful plastics but without letting us know which recycle codes are safe to use repeatedly as water bottles it just comes across as whineing. Not so helpful when you think about it.

9:29AM PDT on Sep 18, 2008

As one who is sensitive to many things and avoids more than I am joyous about, I've come to take this approach: what would the point be in learning so much and avoiding so much? Is it to avoid illness and disease? Ah, not only are there better ways to do this it is also an impossible thing. The point is really about enabling us to have more joy - so if you feel it brings you more joy to avoid #7 plastics, then do so, if it brings you more joy to forget about it and just BE, then do so. I have yet to decide, but I'm leaning towards the later.

I would say, anonymous one, though I don't know so much, that taking care of your body will enable your body to better rid of "toxins". Breathe, eat pure, exercise and be kind to yourself seem like better options... I suppose time will tell all of us.


9:27AM PDT on Sep 18, 2008

Is there any safe options?

8:38AM PDT on Sep 18, 2008

C'mon now. Killer bottles? My Nalgene bottle doesn't quite make my list of top concerns. Drivin' to buy yr Sigg bottle will kill ya' first. Just my opinion.

5:16PM PDT on Sep 17, 2008

If one reads the actual study, it is not very conclusive. All it really shows is that in a limited number of people (less than 3000), there is an association between BSA in the Urine and heart disease and diabetes. It does not test any mechanism nor due the authors rules out false positives. That said, steel bottles work well and it never hurts to avoid the POTENTIAL risk.

2:53PM PDT on Sep 17, 2008

I use a stainless steel water bottle or a glass bottle wrapped on one of those bottle cooler jackets. If the bottle breaks, the glass stays inside the jacket. Easy to clean out when you get home.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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