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ACC says BPA is safe after study shows possible link to narrowing of the arteries

By Joe Whitworth , 27-Aug-2012
Last updated the 27-Aug-2012 at 13:09 GMT

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) has defended bisphenol A (BPA) in the wake of a study which links exposure of the chemical to narrowing of the arteries.

A research team from the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry (PCMD), University of Exeter, and University of Cambridge analysed data from 591 patients who participated in the Metabonomics and Genomics Coronary Artery Disease (MaGiCAD) study in Cambridgeshire, UK.

The study in the journal PLoS ONE showed that urinary BPA concentration was significantly higher in those with severe coronary artery disease (CAD) compared to those with normal coronary arteries.

The researchers suggested the results were important because they suggested that associations between urinary BPA and CAD may be specific to narrowing of the arteries.

However, they admitted larger studies were needed to estimate true dose response relationships and the mechanisms underlying the association remained to be established.

Severe limitations

The ACC said the study had severe design limitations which made it incapable of establishing a cause-and-effect relationship between BPA exposure and coronary artery disease.

The group said that while these types of study can provide direction, by themselves they don’t demonstrate that a particular chemical can cause a particular disease.

It is the latest study in a long line into BPA and Steven Hentges, Ph.D., of the American Chemistry Council’s Polycarbonate/BPA Global Group told FoodProductionDaily.com current evidence points to BPA being safe.

“There have been hundreds, maybe thousands, of studies on BPA but the only way we can be conclusive is by evaluating the entire set and weighing the evidence looking at each study and when we do that we come to the conclusion that BPA is safe.

“The levels of human exposure show it to be extremely safe and the body’s metabolism eliminates BPA from the body quickly so it has low potential to cause harm.”

He added we were virtually at the final conclusion from a practical sense.

“There is always uncertainty around science and more that can be done with the research being refined but the likelihood of overturning the evidence is unlikely.”

BPA confusion

Last month the FDA banned the use of BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups after a request made by the ACC in October 2011 to clarify that it was no longer used to manufacture the products.

When asked about the message sent out by France banning BPA in food packaging from 2014 and Sweden banning it in food packaging only aimed at kids, Hentges said it was confusing.

“Government action doesn’t support the data for banning it but in the EU there is more of a reliance on precaution and removing things from their products.

“It is confusing. The science doesn’t support the actions for consumers and it does send mixed messages.”

Hentges added possible replacements for BPA, such as Bisphenol S used in thermal paper, would be an interesting area in the future.

“You don’t hear so much about the companies that still use BPA and it has a bright future and strong properties that are useful.

“BPA is safe in its current applications, there is never going to be one conclusive study but the weight of overall evidence provides strong support which more data will only strengthen.”

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