Bisphenol A (BPA) is a controversial chemical widely used in the plastics industry. A new study followed people over a 10-year time period and shows that healthy people with higher urine concentrations of BPA were more likely to later develop heart disease.
The study was carried out by researchers at the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry, the University of Exeter and the European Centre for the Environment and Human Health, in association with the University of Cambridge. The analysis was funded by the British Heart Foundation. The paper is published online in Circulation a Journal of the American Heart Association.
The research team had previously identified the link between BPA and the increased risk of cardiovascular disease by using two sets of US data, which are effectively snapshots in time. The previous data showed a correlation between exposure to BPA and cardiovascular disease but it could not help researchers to predict how exposure to the chemical might affect future health.
The most recent study uses data from the European Prospective Investigation of Cancer (EPIC) in Norfolk, UK, a long term population study led by the University of Cambridge, supported by the Medical Research Council UK and Cancer Research UK. It is the first time that data has been used to establish a link between exposure to BPA and future onset of cardiovascular disease.
The study compared urine BPA measures from 758 initially healthy EPIC study respondents who later developed cardiovascular disease, and 861 respondents who remained heart disease free. The findings of the study show that those who developed heart disease tended to have higher urinary BPA concentrations at the start of the 10-year period. The extent of the effect is very difficult to estimate given that just one urine specimen from each participant was available for testing at the beginning of the 10-year follow-up.
Professor David Melzer of the
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The Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry