A chemical commonly used in plastic bottles, food containers and baby bottles may be harmful to the heart, a number of US studies have found.
New research by a team of scientists at the Univeristy of Cincinnati shows that bisphenol A (BPA) may be harmful for the heart, particularly in women.
A research team led by Scott Belcher PhD, in the department of pharmacology and cell biophysics, found that exposure to BPA and/or oestrogen causes abnormal activity in hearts of female rats and mice.
In addition, these researchers found that oestrogen receptors are responsible for this affect in heart muscle cells.
"There is a broad exposure to bisphenol A, despite recognition that BPA can have harmful effects," Belcer said. "We had reason to believe that harmful cardiovascular effects can be added to the list."
"Low doses of BPA markedly increased the frequency of arrhythmic events," Belcher says. "The effect of BPA on these cardiac arrhythmias was amplified when exposed to estradiol, the major oestrogen hormone in humans."
"BPA and/or oestrogen rapidly stimulated contraction by altering control of the concentrations of free calcium inside the heart cell but only in heart muscle cells from females, showing that these effects were sex-specific," Belcher says.
"BPA's presence increased the frequency of calcium ‘sparks' from the sarcoplasmic reticulum-the part of the cardiac muscle that stores and releases calcium ions-indicating spontaneous release or ‘leak' that's likely causing the heart arrhythmias and may have other harmful actions, especially following heart attack."
Further to this, a number of studies have linked exposure to BPA to birth and genetic defects and infertility.
Another study by Yale University found that exposure to BPA early in pregnancy may cause a fertility defect in the offspring. Yale University's Dr Hugh Taylor found that mice born to mothers who were exposed to a low dose of BPA in the early stages of pregnancy had their uterine function changed.
"We don't know what a safe level of BPA is so pregnant women should avoid BPA exposure," he said. "There is nothing to lose by avoiding items made with BPA - and maybe a lot to gain."
Bisphenol A (BPA) is a compound used in plastics. First used in 1891, the chemical is now a key building block of plastics - from polycarbonate to polyester, it is estimated every Australian home has at least one source of BPA.
Since at least 1936, BPA has been known to mimic oestrogens, binding to the same receptors throughout the human body as natural female hormones.
Seventy-something years on after the discovery that BPA is disruptive to our bodies, and it's more readily used than ever before.
Many tests have shown that repeated exposure to the chemical can promote human breast cancer cell growth, as well as decrease sperm count in rats, among other effects.
Test findings have raised questions about the potential health risks of BPA, especially in the wake of studies showing that it leaches from plastics and resins when exposed to hard use or high temperatures (think microwave, dishwashers, leaving your bottle in the car, or chinese take-away!).
The end line?
Avoid using plastic containers and bottles wherever and whenever possible. Though this may seem impossible, it truly isn't.
Avoid heating or reheating food in plastic containers - opt for glass or ceramic instead.
If you are buying takeaway, get it out of the plastic container ASAP. Switch to ceramic plates instead of plastic, especially if they are getting heated up.
Throw away your plastic drink bottles. Not only do they leach BPA, they also contribute massively to land fill and have a huge impact on the environment, from manufacture to when you chuck it. Avoid aluminium as it is often made with some amount of plastic to strengthen it.
Invest in a stainless steel bottle. Stainless steel bottles are a great choice, as they are durable and will last for many, many years. We have sourced a great new brand called ‘Cheeki'.
These stainless steel bottles look good, are great for the kiddies and are hardy enough to survive even the roughest user.
What about baby? As for children and adults, avoid plastic or resin baby bottles at all costs.
There are a large range of glass bottles that will do the job just fine, without the risk of dangerous chemicals leaching into the milk.
Watch the video below for more information on Bisphenol A (BPA) Contaminating Our Food
What else can I do?
Support your family's health with a good multivitamin/mineral formula. Adequate nutrients will aid your body in eliminating nasty invaders, whilst also regulating hormone levels. Multivitamins work to ‘fill in the gaps' where the diet otherwise lacks.
Worried about your heart health? Take any sort of statin or heart drug? You should be taking CoQ10.
CoQ10 is a main player in energy production and is also a powerful antioxidant. Statin drugs leach CoQ10 from the body, so you MUST replace this vital enzyme.