Scientists challenge BPA links to heart, kidney disease

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Medicine, Bpa

BPA is used is a food contact material used in cans
BPA is used is a food contact material used in cans
Scientists have disputed a study associating food contact material Bisphenol A (BPA) consumption to higher risk of heart and kidney disease in children and adolescents.

The link was made by New York University School of Medicine study​ in the journal Kidney International, a Nature publication.

However, Steven Hentges, of the American Chemistry Council’s Polycarbonate/BPA Group, claimed​ the study lacks sufficient evidence to make the link.

‘Fundamentally limited’

“This study is inherently and fundamentally limited due to its reliance on single BPA exposure samples collected after the development of health effects.

“The authors themselves state that: ‘our cross sectional study cannot definitely confirm that BPA contributes to heart disease or kidney dysfunction in children’ and they note the need for further research.”

Hentges also highlighted the fact that the NYU study did not measure any effects on the heart and kidneys, but only speculated about possible effects.

He points to research funded by the Environmental Protection Agency and conducted by scientists at the government’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Food and Drug Administration.

Unlikely to pose a threat

This study claims that, because of the way it is processed by the body, BPA, which is used as a coating for plastic packaging and cans, is unlikely to pose a threat to health at any realistic exposure level.

“Furthermore, regulators from Europe to Japan to the United States have recently reviewed hundreds of studies on BPA and repeatedly supported the continued safe use of BPA,”​ adds Hentges.

The NYU study analysed data from 710 children and adolescents, aged from six to 19 as part of the US 2009-2010 National Health & Nutrition Examination Survey.

Oxidative stress

Co-lead author of the NYU study, Leonardo Trasande, claims laboratory studies suggest low levels of BPA increase oxidative stress and inflammation, promoting leakage of the protein albumin into urine. This is a biomarker for renal impairment and future heart disease risk, he states.

Children with the highest amount of BPA in their urine, compared to those with the lowest amount, had a higher albumin to creatinine ratio, the researchers state. This is a potential early marker of renal impairment and future risk of developing coronary heart disease, according to the study.

Trasande and his team of scientists published an earlier study in September 2012 linking high levels of BPA in the urine of children and adolescents to obesity.

‘Adds to existing concerns’

"… together with our previous study of BPA and obesity, this new data adds to already existing concerns about BPA as a contributor to cardiovascular risk in children and adolescents,"​ states Trasande. "It further supports the call to limit exposure of BPA in this country, especially in children.

“Removing it from aluminum cans is probably one of the best ways we can limit exposure. There are alternatives that manufacturers can use to line aluminum cans."

Trasande said he was particularly concerned about the effects of BPA consumption by children with kidney problems and called for more research into its effects on the kidneys and heart.

Source: Kidney International, ​January 9, 2013; ​Authors: Leonardo Trasande, associate professor, Departments of Pediatrics, Environmental Medicine and Population Health, NYU School of Medicine, associate professor of health policy, NYU Wagner School of Public Service and associate professor of public health, NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development; Teresa Attina, Departments of Pediatrics, and Medicine; Howard Trachtman, professor of clinical pediatrics, Department of Pediatrics.

Related topics: Food Safety & Quality

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