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Hunting a link between bisphenol A and poor health

September 16, 2008 | 10:02 am

Data on the possible health effects of bisphenol A keep coming. Now, researchers have examined links between urinary concentrations of the chemical and adult health status -- and the findings, though not damning, couldn't be called soothing.

In a study published today in the Journal of the American Medical Assn., scientists from the United Kingdom and the University of Iowa analyzed urine samples from 1,455 American adults, asked questions about their health history and took blood samples to measure markers related to liver function and lipid changes.

The conclusion of the study (available in full to anyone interested) says:

"We found that higher urinary concentrations of BPA were associated with an increased prevalence of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and liver-enzyme abnormalities. These findings add to the evidence suggesting adverse effects of low-dose BPA in animals."

The researchers go on to state that more studies are needed to confirm the findings and to explain whether the associations are causal (there being a difference between correlation and causation).

But an accompanying editorial (also available to the public) states that the report:

"... should stimulate further studies and reevaluation of the basic assumptions in chemical risk assessments that led to FDA assurances that BPA is safe. Their findings also heighten incentives for green chemistry (a new field based on collaboration between biologists and chemists to develop biologically inert chemicals for use in products) to find cost-effective replacements for BPA applications contributing to widespread human exposures."

In a related Los Angeles Times story, the Food and Drug Administration reiterates its confidence in the safety of the chemical, used to harden plastics.

-- Tami Dennis