Update: The American Chemical Council has responded to the study. The ACC’s full response is at the end of the post.
Add another small piece of evidence to the growing mountain that BPA is not safe. A Korean research team is linking the plastic coating to a temporary increase of blood pressure. Granted, what you’re drinking out of those cans probably isn’t healthy, either.
Environmental groups have been after the FDA for years to ban bisphenol A, or BPA. The FDA freely admits BPA ends up in the human body, mostly leaching from cans or bottles. The question is whether it’s harmful. FDA administrators cite evidence that it’s safe, while there have been studies that link the chemical to heart disease and obesity.
You could go with the generic, non-scientific test. If something is leaching into your body via a plastic bottle, in what world is that safe long-term?
The latest study is in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension. Researchers at the Seoul National University College in medicine monitored 60 elderly patients who drank soy milk from BPA-lined cans or bottles. Measurements were taken of the amount of BPA in their urine, along with heart rate and blood pressure.
A control was established via participants drinking out of an unlined glass bottle. The soy milk was the same brand across containers, and kept at the same temperature.
“The urinary BPA concentration increased after consuming canned beverages by more than 1,600 percent compared with that after consuming glass bottled beverages,” Hong’s team wrote in their report.
“Systolic blood pressure adjusted for daily variance increased by 4.5 mmHg after consuming two canned beverages compared with that after consuming two glass bottled beverages, and the difference was statistically significant.”
Health professionals consider a reading of 120 or below healthy. Systolic refers to the top number when reading blood pressure – think ‘number over number.’
One issue that is popping up with the study is the small sample size and what is normally consumed out of cans or bottles. No one is drinking a can of water in the United States. It becomes difficult to ascertain the level of threat BPA presents due to sugary, caffeinated drinks. Those present an extreme health risk, and jump over any studies involving BPA.
FDA Stance on BPA
This year, the FDA reviewed literature on BPA and still maintains its current guidelines. The regulator is confident with the current levels in food packaging, as the body metabolizes the compound once ingested.
You have to love when a regulator says ‘current levels.’ Nothing should scare the hell out of you more. So, there’s a cutoff point where it’s too much? How about we find a replacement where there isn’t a ceiling to how much we can ingest. Just a thought
American Chemical Council Response
STUDY PUBLISHED IN AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION
JOURNAL HYPERTENSION WILL INAPPROPRIATELY CONCERN AND
CONFUSE CONSUMERS ABOUT BPA AND INCREASED BLOOD PRESSURE
Study Lacks Statistically Significant Findings to Support Claim that
Drinking Any Beverages from Cans May Elevate Blood Pressure
WASHINGTON (Dec. 8, 2014) – The American Chemistry Council (ACC) offers the following comments regarding a study published today by Sanghyuk Bae and Yun-Chul Hongl in the American Heart Association journal, Hypertension, entitled “Exposure to Bisphenol A From Drinking Canned Beverage Increases Blood Pressure.” Quotes from the following may be attributed to Steven G. Hentges, Ph.D. of ACC’s Polycarbonate/BPA Global Group.
“This study’s claim that BPA, which is safely used in can linings to protect food and beverages from contamination, ‘may pose a substantial health risk’ is a gross overstatement of the findings, an incredible disservice to public health, and runs contrary to years of research by government scientists.
“The authors’ conclusions from this small-scale study significantly over-interpret the data measured in the study. As reported by the authors, there were no statistically significant differences in the primary blood pressure measurements of the three treatment groups, whether participants drank soy milk from glass bottles or cans.
“Additionally, the promotional materials that accompanied the study suggested that exposure to BPA from drinking any canned beverage can increase blood pressure. These statements are not supported by the study’s findings and will inappropriately alarm consumers. The study only examined soy milk, which is not at all representative of all canned beverages.
“As noted by the authors, blood pressure is believed to be controlled by estrogen receptors and it is well-known that soy milk naturally contains variable levels of estrogenic substances. Accordingly, the use of soy milk in the study confounds the results. BPA is only weakly estrogenic and trace levels of BPA in the diet have been shown to be far too low to cause any estrogenic effects. Slight differences in blood pressure reported in the study may be due to the soy milk itself, but are not likely related to trace levels of BPA.
“Many government bodies around the world have evaluated the scientific evidence on BPA and have clearly stated that BPA is safe as used in food contact materials. For example, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), responded last year to the question, ‘Is BPA safe?’ with one unambiguous word: ‘Yes.’ Supporting this clear conclusion is one of the largest studies ever conducted on BPA, which was published by FDA researchers early this year. One of the lead FDA researchers commented that the results of this comprehensive subchronic toxicity study ‘both support and extend the conclusion from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that BPA is safe as currently used.’
“Research funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and conducted by scientists at FDA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the government’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, (Teeguarden et al.) found that, because of the way BPA is processed in the body, it is very unlikely that BPA could cause health effects at any realistic exposure level.”