By Jaimie Dalessio
A new analysis out of the New York University School of Medicine links the controversial chemical bisphenol A, better known as BPA, to a biomarker of higher risk for heart and kidney disease in children and adolescents.
The findings are not the first to highlight potential adverse health effects of BPA, once widely found in plastic bottles and still used in the manufacturing of aluminum cans. Studies have linked BPA exposure to ailments ranging from weight gain and early puberty to prostate cancer, breast cancer, and asthma.
For this study, published online in the January 9, 2013, issue of Kidney International, a Nature publication, researchers analyzed data from the 2009-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Children with the highest levels of BPA in their urine had a higher albumin-to-creatinine ratio compared to those with the lowest amount. A high albumin-to-creatinine ratio can be an early marker of renal injury and future risk of developing heart disease.
In July, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned BPA from baby bottles and sippy cups — although by then many manufacturers had already gone BPA-free. The ban did not apply to other types of food packaging, such as aluminum cans, but the FDA supports steps to reduce human exposure to BPA and is pursuing additional research on its effects.
While these most recent findings do not confirm BPA leads to heart disease or kidney problems in children directly, they add to already existing concerns.
"It further supports the call to limit exposure of BPA in this country, especially in children," said the study's co-author, Leonardo Trasande, MD, MPP, in a release from NYU.
"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."
The FDA supports efforts to replace BPA or minimize BPA levels in food can linings, according to its Web site.
BPA research is ongoing. Just last week, researchers from the University of Missouri in Columbia concluded they could not reproduce the toxic effects of BPA reported in previous studies — fueling the controversial issue with even more confusion.
"BPA Linked to Potential Heart and Kidney Problems" originally appeared on Everyday Health.