BPA Plastic Bottle Chemical Linked to Risk of Diabetes, Heart Disease, Liver Problems

Data presented to an FDA panel of outside experts on Tuesday links exposure to the plastic bottle chemical bisphenol A, also known as BPA, to an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease and liver problems in humans.

Bisphenol A is a chemical compound used in polycarbonate, a type of hard plastic. It is used to make the plastic shatterproof, and is commonly found in a variety of consumer products, such as baby feeding bottles, food storage containers, water bottles and the inner linings of soda cans.
BPA has been linked to adverse effects on health and development in animal studies, and recently concerns have emerged about the health risks it may pose to humans. Over a period of time, people could be exposed to high levels of BPA through food and liquid when it leaches out of the containers into the contents.

Findings from a new study released by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) were presented on September 16, 2008 to an FDA advisory panel. British researchers evaluated BPA concentrations in urine samples from 1,455 adults between 18 and 74, which was the largest study to link the plastic bottle chemical to health risks in humans.

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The study found that the top 25% of people with the highest levels of bisphenol A in their urine were more than twice as likely to have Type 2 diabetes or heart disease than the lowest quarter. Those with higher bisphenol A concentrations also had abnormal amounts of three liver enzymes.

Although the study does not establish conclusive proof of a link between bisphenol A and heart disease or diabetes, it will likely raise the level of concerns among government regulators and consumer advocacy groups. Researchers indicate that the findings merit further studies to confirm a link after repeated measurements over periods of weeks, months or years.

In August 2008, the FDA released a statement defending the safety of bisphenol A in consumer plastic bottles, indicating that trace amounts present were not a significant health risk. Their statement was based on reports involving animal studies, both academic and industry funding.

The FDA convened the panel of outside experts to evaluate the safety of bisphenol A. The advisory panel received the findings from this study, as well as other presentations on BPA from industry groups, consumer groups and researchers. The advisory panel does not have a deadline for reporting to the FDA, but it is expected to come within a few weeks.

Although the FDA is not required to follow the recommendations of their advisory panels, they often do.

Several politicians and consumer groups have called for a bisphenol A ban in the United States for certain consumer products, as a similar ban was announced in Canada for baby bottles. In addition, a number of major retailers, including Walmart and Toys “R” Us have announced that they will no longer sell baby bottles containing the plastic chemical. Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., the maker of Nalgene sports bottles and Energizer Holding Inc’s Playtex Infant Care unit have indicated they will stop using BPA in their new products.

In June 2008, a bisphenol A class action lawsuit was filed against several companies who manufactured and sold baby bottles that contain BPA. A number of product liability lawyers are also evaluating the potential for BPA lawsuits for individuals who experienced health issues following substantial exposure to the chemical.


  • FDA Panel Disagrees with Agency Position on Safety of Plastics Chemical BPA : AboutLawsuits.comOctober 30, 2008 at 4:03 pm

    [...] recent years, concerns have emerged about the health effects of BPA as reports have indicated that trace amounts of BPA that leaches out of the containers and [...]

  • BPA Free Baby Bottles will soon be Required in Canada : AboutLawsuits.comOctober 20, 2008 at 3:25 pm

    [...] about the safety of BPA in baby bottles have also received a lot of attention in the United States in recent weeks. Although the FDA has [...]

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