Washington, Sept 17 : A chemical widely used in plastic products, including baby bottles, plastic food and drink containers could increase the risk of heart disease and diabetes, suggests a new research.
According to the study, higher levels of Bisphenol A (BPA) in the urine is linked with cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and liver-enzyme abnormalities.
BPA is one of the world's highest production-volume chemicals, and 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," wrote the authors.
There is an increased concern over low-level chronic exposures in humans after researchers got the evidence of adverse effects in animals. However, there is little data of sufficient statistical power to detect low-dose effects. This is the first study of associations with BPA levels in a large population, and it explores "normal" levels of BPA exposure.
In the study, the team led by David Melzer, M.B., Ph.D., of 74 years, with measured urinary BPA concentrations. Peninsula Medical School, Exeter, U.K., assessed associations between urinary BPA concentrations and the health status of adults.
They used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2003-2004. The survey included 1,455 adults, over the 18 years of age.
The researchers found that average BPA concentrations, adjusted for age and sex, appeared higher in those who reported diagnoses of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.
A 1-Standard Deviation (SD) increase in BPA concentration was linked with a 39 percent increased odds of cardiovascular disease (angina, coronary heart disease, or heart attack combined) and diabetes.
After dividing BPA concentrations into quartiles, it was found that 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.
Besides, higher BPA concentrations were associated with clinically abnormal concentrations for three liver enzymes. However, no associations with other diagnoses were observed.
"Using data representative of the adult U.S. population, we found that higher urinary concentrations of BPA were associated with an increased prevalence of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and liver-enzyme abnormalities. These findings add to the evidence suggesting adverse effects of low-dose BPA in animals. Independent replication and follow-up studies are needed to confirm these findings and to provide evidence on whether the associations are causal," concluded the authors.
They added: "Given the substantial negative effects on adult health that may be associated with increased BPA concentrations and also given the potential for reducing human exposure, our findings deserve scientific follow-up."
The study was published in the recent issue of JAMA.