Friday, December 12, 2014

BPA causes high blood pressure

This is only marginally related to diabetes, but because diabetics are thought to have a high risk of heart attack and are often put on medication for conditions like high blood pressure, I thought it was worth mentioning.

BPA in Cans and Plastic Bottles Linked to Quick Rise in Blood Pressure

This is significant because there's been some resistance to the FDA's decision to ban BPA in baby bottles and kids' cups.  The American Chemistry Council still maintains that BPA is safe.

This study appears to show otherwise.

From the article:

The researchers chose soy milk because it does not have any properties that are known to increase blood pressure. And unlike soda, fruit juice and other acidic beverages, which are more likely to leach BPA from containers, soy milk is considered fairly neutral.
When the subjects drank from glass bottles, the study found, their urinary BPA levels remained fairly low. But within two hours of drinking from a can, their levels of BPA were about 16 times higher.
As BPA levels rose, so too did systolic blood pressure readings – on average by about five millimeters of mercury. In general, every 20 millimeter increase in systolic blood pressure doubles the risk of cardiovascular disease.

 These are pretty concerning results.  Also concerning is that news that BPS -- the chemical replacing BPA in all BPA-free water bottles and other food packaging -- might not be safe either:

Nearly 81 percent of Americans have detectable levels of BPS in their urine. And once it enters the body it can affect cells in ways that parallel BPA. A 2013 study by Cheryl Watson at The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston found that even picomolar concentrations (less than one part per trillion) of BPS can disrupt a cell’s normal functioning, which could potentially lead to metabolic disorders such as diabetes and obesity, asthma, birth defects or even cancer.

I've been saying since the initial flurry of media attention to BPA that they're likely to find something else next.  When I was a kid, plastic was considered perfectly safe, even in the microwave.  Then it was safe, just not for microwaving... and finally they realized it didn't even require microwaving in order for the chemicals to leech out into your food or drink.

Basically, I just don't trust plastic anymore.  I think we're going to find eventually that it's just not safe at all.  I switched years ago to drinking out of metal water bottles (I love Klean Kanteen!) and storing food in glass containers as often as possible.  I even try to avoid plastic or silicone cooking utensils.  About the only thing I haven't cut out is prepackaged foods (BPA is found in can linings and plastic-bottled beverages), but honestly, I don't consume all that much of that kind of stuff, so I'm not worried just yet.

I'm not saying you have to go all out to avoid plastic, like I do, but it's definitely something to keep in mind.  If BPA can change your blood pressure that quickly, who knows what kind of cumulative effect it could have?  Cutting out your exposure to BPA could mean the difference between having to be on blood pressure medication or not, and maybe even -- since study didn't specifically look at this -- the difference between having a heart attack or staying healthy.

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