Monday, January 2, 2012

BPA and the Risk of Heart Attack in Women

It seems like more often than not we are learning more about the potentially negative effects of BPA on our health, and a recent study has added to the list of potential causes linked to BPA exposure.  The study, published in the journal PLoS ONE, suggests that BPA may send signals to female heart cells, causing those cells to beat erratically.  This condition is known as arrhythmia and it can result in cardiac death.

BPA, or bisphenol A, is a compound commonly used in a variety of household products, especially those made with plastic and canned foods.  By using products that have BPA in them, we can become exposed to the chemical, and once the BPA is in our systems it has the potential to mimic estrogen.  This is dangerous because the human body maintains a delicate balance of hormones to regulate all of its functions.  In this study, for example, estrogen has been show to alter contraction rates in heart cells.  When estrogen mimicking BPA is in our bodies, this effect is multiplied and becomes potentially harmful to a normally functioning heart.  BPA throws the balance of the hormone estrogen out of whack and the heart suffers as a result.
Laura Vandenberg of Tufts University explained that, “though not flashy, this study is excellent at revealing nuances of how cardiovascular tissue can respond differently than cells elsewhere in the body to estrogen – and to BPA.”  Furthermore, she explains that this effect is found even with very low doses of BPA, “the most effective dose was very close to – if not completely overlapping – what’s been reported in humans.”

Scientists have debated whether BPA levels are high enough in humans to cause the potential health risks associated with its exposure.  In this case, the level of BPA commonly found in females has the potential to cause heart problems.

To avoid this serious risk and any other lurking issues resulting from BPA, throw out your old and used plastics and buy BPA-free water bottles and food containers.  It’s a “whole-hearted” investment worth making!

~ Jessica

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