BPA stays in the body longer than expected

BPA has been linked to a broad range of problems from developmental issues in children to killers like heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

Bisphenol A (BPA), a controversial chemical used to harden plastics for consumer products such as baby bottles and food containers, appears to remain in the body much longer than previously thought. A new study found that BPA levels drop eight times more slowly than expected.

“What this study shows is that either we are getting exposed to a lot more BPA than we thought, or it’s hanging around longer than we thought, or both,” said lead researcher Dr. Richard W. Stahlhut, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Rochester Medical Center’s Environmental Health Sciences Center, in New York.

Stahlhut’s team collected data on 1,469 people. They looked at the amount of BPA in urine and the length of time the participants had been fasting before the urine sample was taken.

Conventional wisdom says that food is the most common source of BPA, and the body clears the chemical fairly quickly. The researchers expected to see less BPA in those who fasted the longest, compared to those who had eaten recently. But, the researchers found that the levels of BPA in people who had fasted the longest were only moderately lower than in those who had just eaten.

“One possibility is that people are exposed to more BPA than can be found in food alone,” Stahlhut said, citing tap water or house dust as other sources. “The other possibility is that BPA gets ‘hung up’ in fat cells in the body,” he said.

About 93 percent of Americans have detectable levels of BPA in their urine, according to the Centers for Disease Control. BPA has been linked to a broad range of problems from developmental issues in children to killers like heart disease, diabetes and cancer. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration was criticized by some scientists — including one of its own advisory panels — after it said last August that BPA did not pose a health threat. By December, the agency had agreed to reexamine that earlier ruling.

 

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 28, Number 2, Apr/May 2009.

 

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