BPA in Plastics and Aluminum Cans Linked to Heart and Kidney Disease
New scientific data has been released linking a chemical commonly found in plastic bottles and inside aluminum cans to a biomarker for higher risk of heart and kidney disease in children and adolescents. The chemical, known as bisphenol A (BPA) is used to provide an anti-septic function to the liquids and food products it contains. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently banned the chemical, but it is still widely used in aluminum cans. Previous studies have found that BPA can disrupt various mechanisms in human metabolism. The new study from the NYU School of Medicine shows that it can also increase the chance of developing coronary heart disease and kidney dysfunction.
"While our cross-sectional study cannot definitively confirm that BPA contributes to heart disease or kidney dysfunction in children, together with our previous study of BPA and obesity, this new data adds to already existing concerns about BPA as a contributor to cardiovascular risk in children and adolescents," says Dr. Trasande of the NYU School of Medicine's Department of Pediatrics. "It further supports the call to limit exposure of BPA in this country, especially in children. Removing it from aluminum cans is probably one of the best ways we can limit exposure. There are alternatives that manufacturers can use to line aluminum cans."
Studies have shown that nearly 92 percent of children in the United States have some trace of BPA in their urine. This is even the case after the banning of BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups. If the mother has BPA in her system, it can be transferred to the baby through breast milk. It can also be transferred through baby skin care or hair care products.
For the study, data from 710 children and adolescents, age 6-19, was analyzed from 2009-2010. The data included measurements of urinary BPA, and a protein called albumin. Albumin is a protein not normally found in urine because the kidney usually prevents it from escaping.
Other factors were taken into account before reaching a conclusion, such as hypertension, insulin resistance, cholesterol, exposure to tobacco smoke, race/ethnicity, age, weight, gender, etc. Children with the highest concentration of BPA in their urine also had the highest albumin to creatinine ratio. This ratio is an early marker of renal impairment and future risk of developing coronary heart disease.
"While we excluded children with pre-existing kidney disease from our analysis, I am concerned that BPA exposure may have even greater effects on children with kidney disease," says Dr. Trachtman, co-lead author of the study. "Because their kidneys are already working harder to compensate and have limited functional reserve, they may be more susceptible to the adverse effects of environmental toxins. We clearly need further study of BPA exposure and its effects on the kidney both in healthy children and in children who have pre-existing kidney disease."
This study has been published in the journal, Kidney International
BPA image via Shutterstock