(NaturalNews) According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease is the number one killer in the U.S. Various forms of the disease take the lives of over 80 million Americans a year. And while we've all heard about the risk factors for cardiovascular disease -- including smoking, being overweight, high cholesterol and lack of exercise -- it appears it's time to add bisphenol A, better known as BPA, to that list.
This chemical has been used for decades in polycarbonate plastic products including refillable drink containers, plastic eating utensils and baby bottles as well as the epoxy resins that line most food and soft-drink cans. Now a new study just published in the journal PLoS ONE provides the most compelling evidence so far that BPA exposure is dangerous to the cardiovascular system.
Using 2006 data from the US government's National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), researchers from the Peninsula Medical School at the University of Exeter in the UK studied urinary BPA concentrations and found a significantly strong link between BPA exposure and heart disease. In 2008, these same scientists discovered that higher urinary BPA concentrations were associated with a long list of medical problems in adults, including liver dysfunction, diabetes and obesity. This research team was also the first to report evidence that BPA was linked to cardiovascular disease -- and their new research offers further confirmation of a strong connection between BPA and heart ailments.
Despite the fact the new study found that urinary BPA concentrations were one third lower than those measured from 2003 to 2004, higher concentrations of BPA were still associated with heart disease. "This is only the second analysis of BPA in a large human population sample. It has allowed us to largely confirm our original analysis and exclude the possibility that our original findings were a statistical 'blip'," David Melzer, Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health at the Peninsula Medical School and the research team leader, said in a statement to the media.
"We now need to investigate what causes these health risk associations in more detail and to clarify whether they are caused by BPA itself or by some other factor linked to BPA exposure. The risks associated with exposure to BPA may be small, but they are relevant to very large numbers of people. This information is important since it provides a great opportunity for intervention to reduce the risks," added scientist Tamara Galloway, Professor of Ecotoxicology at the University of Exeter and senior author of the paper.