Subjects: Public health
A new study has confirmed that bisphenol A leaches from those popular, colored plastic drinking bottles into people’s bodies.
A research team led by Karin Michels of the Harvard School of Public Health asked 77 students to consume beverages from stainless steel bottles for a week to rid themselves of BPA, which is normally cleared through the urine hours after consumption.
The students provided urine samples throughout the washout period and during the second week, when they consumed all liquids from polycarbonate bottles manufactured using BPA.
Week 2 specimens contained 69% more BPA than those from Week 1, and were equivalent to levels routinely observed in the general population. All other dietary habits were unchanged over the course of the study, leaving no doubt the BPA came from the bottles.
The study appears in Environmental Health Perspectives.
BPA makes those reusable plastic bottles more durable. It also prevents corrosion in the cans used for commercial soup and baby formula products.
Animal studies suggest that BPA causes developmental and endocrine problems. Recent human studies have linked urinary BPA concentrations to behavioral problems in children, reproductive problems, immune deficiency and an increased risk of diabetes and heart and liver problems.
Last year, amid growing concerns about its health effects, Canada proscribed the use of BPA in baby bottles.
The FDA says that BPA-laced products are safe, even for infants and children. In reaching that conclusion, it overruled its own advisory board which had chastised the agency for relying on industry-sponsored research in its analysis.
Steven Hentges, an American Chemistry Council official representing manufacturers, actually found the Harvard study results to be heartening. To him, the study indicates “that even exclusive use of polycarbonate bottles does not lead to unusually high levels of bisphenol A in the urine.”