(NaturalNews) Two recently published studies have added to the evidence that bisphenol A (BPA) is a highly toxic chemical that poses a serious risk to human health.
BPA is an industrial chemical used in everything from food and beverage cans to CDs, thermal paper (like that used to make receipts), paper money, dental fillings and flame retardants. It can be found in household dust and accumulates in the human body. Studies have implicated it as an endocrine disruptor and linked it to higher risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, reproductive dysfunction, and even neurological, brain and behavioral problems. Some researchers believe that BPA may also affect metabolism and increase the risk of diabetes and obesity. The European Union and Canada have banned its use in certain children's products.
"This substance has been shown to affect the hormonal system and may have negative effects on the function of enzymes and carrier proteins," said Dieter Swandulla of the University of Bonn. "It seems that fetuses and newborns are particularly sensitive to BPA."
In a study published in the journal Molecular Pharmacology, Swandulla and other researchers found that BPA blocks the channels that cells use to transport calcium. Normally, calcium ions flow through pore-like "channel proteins" in order to regulate processes such as enzyme activity, muscle contraction (including heart muscle) and communication between nerve cells. In experiments on both mouse and human cell lines, the researchers found that BPA caused disruption to calcium channels similar to those seen in both toxins and pharmacuetical drugs.
"Drugs such as those used to treat high blood pressure and cardiac arrhythmia on the one hand, and neurotoxins, such as heavy metals, on the other hand act on exactly the same calcium channels," Swandulla said. "This indicates that BPA can indeed have adverse effects on human health."
Swandulla noted that the interference appears to be reversible, which provides hope that time or treatment could undo the damage given no further exposure to BPA.
BPA found everywhere, even prenatally
A second study, conducted by researchers from the University of Michigan and published in the Journal of Biochemical and Molecular Toxicology, found evidence that BPA begins to accumulate in the body even before birth. The researchers examined the livers of 50 fetuses in the first or second trimesters. Many of the fetuses showed high levels of BPA. Strikingly, the levels of BPA were three times higher than the levels of partially metabolized forms, suggesting that fetuses are less effective at flushing the chemical from their systems than adults are. "Our research shows that the argument that (BPA is) so rapidly metabolized is not true in fetuses," lead author Dana Dolinoy said.
Numerous studies have shown that most humans suffer from chronic BPA exposure and carry the chemical in their bodies.
"This is why it would be desirable to completely stop the production of BPA," Swandulla said. "Due to the high-volume production and its widespread occurrence, it would; however, take a very long time to remove this chemical from the environment and the human organism."