BPA Builds Up, Stays in the BodyJan 29, 2009 | Parker Waichman LLP
The toxic estrogen-mimicking chemical bisphenol A—BPA—seems to stay in the body longer than previously believed, according to a new study, said WebMD. What’s frightening is that the plastics chemical is incredibly ubiquitous and can be found virtually everywhere. As a matter-of-fact, BPA is present in “detectable levels” in just about every human body, said WebMD.
BPA is a plastic hardening chemical that can be found in polycarbonate drink containers, plastic food and soda can liners, dental sealers, CD cases, cars, PVC pipe, and baby bottles, to name just some. BPA has been linked to a variety of diseases including an increased risk of diseases or disorders of the brain, reproductive, and immune systems; recent studies have linked BPA exposure to problems with liver function testing, an increased risk of diabetes and heart disease, and interruptions in chemotherapy treatment; and BPA exposure has long been linked to hormonal disturbances. BPA was also linked to serious health problems based on 130 studies conducted in the past 10 years, The Washington Post reported late last year, and newer research found BPA to have negative effects at “very low doses,” lower than the FDA’s safety standards currently in place.
Canada issued a ban prohibiting BPA use in plastic baby bottles, but despite this and overwhelming reports to the contrary, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continues to deem BPA safe, said Web MD. The National Toxicology Program, an arm of the National Institutes of Health recently announced that there is “some concern” BPA “may affect the brain and behavioral development of fetuses, infants, and young children” and Dow Jones reported that BPA has been linked to prostate cancer, male genital defects, and early female puberty, adding that experts say the FDA should never have ignored the scientific evidence pointing to BPA’s harm to humans.
Although some researchers believe most BPA comes from food and that the body releases each BPA “dose” within 24 hours, recent evidence points to BPA as being in water supplies and that it lingers in the body’s fat tissues, said WebMD, which pointed out that this could mean BPA is an even larger issue than ever thought.
The study was conducted by University of Rochester researcher Richard Stahlhut, MD, MPH, who reviewed information on 1,469 adults from a larger Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study, which conducted one-time BPA testing on fasting individuals as well as collecting broad dietary information, said WebMD. According to USA Today, the study revealed that fasting adults maintained high BPA levels, despite that they had not eaten for as long as 24 hours.
By comparing BPA levels to the timing of the last meal, and working believing BPA mostly comes from food and has a short “half-life,” Stahlhut expected to see a decrease in those who fasted longer than the half-life, said WebMD. "After 10 to 15 hours of fasting, there shouldn't be anybody with any detectable levels of BPA … by 24 hours it's still there," Stahlhut said.
Med Headlines reported that the longer a toxin remains in the body, the more damage it can create and that Stahlhut concluded that knowing BPA remains in the body longer than first believed, “changes the game.” Stahlhut also pointed out, said WebMD, that BPA lingering in fat tissues could have something to do with studies linking BPA to obesity, insulin sensitivity, and diabetes. "Imagine if what we think is caused by obesity is actually caused by persistent organics in the fat of obese people. If they don't have the organics, they don't have the diabetes. That would be huge," said Stahlhut, quoted WebMD.
BPA is also used in the manufacture of medical devices, said Med Headlines, which said Stahlhut’s study suggests BPA might also come from tap water and house dust. Few tests have been conducted on BPA and its link to tap water, said Web MD, which noted tests also did not look for chlorinated BPA, which would be that BPA leached from PVC pipes into municipal tap water.