BPA (bisphenol A) is the chemical found in food containers, eyeglass lenses and CDs, and this week researchers fear it may cause heart disease and diabetes.
Researchers from the University of Exeter in the UK have found that people with the highest levels of BPA in their body were also the ones most likely to have heart disease and diabetes.
While America’s heath regulator, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), says levels of the chemical that enter our body are far too low to cause disease, they have come up with two ways you can reduce your exposure. FDA spokesperson Laura Tarantino suggests you avoid plastic containers that have the recycling number 7, as most of these contain BPA (advice that may apply only to the US), and don’t warm up food while it’s still in its plastic container as heat can help release the chemical.
The Exeter researchers monitored the BPA levels in the urine of 1,455 adults; of these, 79 has suffered a heart attack, chest pain or cardiovascular disease, and 136 had diabetes.
The average BPA exposure in the group was 20 micrograms a day, but a quarter of the participants who were exposed to higher BPA levels of up to 50 micrograms group, and those in the 20 microgram group, and those in the higher group were also 2.4 times more likely to suffer diabetes.
(Source: Journal of the American Medical Association, 2008; 300: 1303-10).