New Study Adds to Bisphenol A Concern

A study posted Wednesday by Environmental Health Perspectives adds to the public health concern about Bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical that is used in plastics and to line cans. "Bisphenol A Data in NHANES Suggest Longer Than Expected Half-Life, Substantial Non-Food Exposure, or Both," written by Richard W. Stahlhut (Environmental Health Sciences Center, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, N.Y.), Wade V. Welshons (Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Missouri-Columbia, Columbia, Mo.), and Shanna H. Swan (Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Rochester Medical Center) tested the beliefs that food is the predominant BPA exposure source and BPA is rapidly, completely cleared from the body by examining BPA urine concentration in individuals who fasted for up to 24 hours. If the beliefs are right, their BPA levels should have fallen as fasting time increased, but there was no appreciable decline between fasting up to 4.5 hours and fasting up to 24 hours.

The authors say this finding suggests "substantial" non-food exposure and/or that BPA accumulates in body tissues such as fat. They write that CDC estimated 93 percent of Americans ages 6-85+ have detectable urine levels of BPA based on 2003-2004 data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey; the lowest levels were found in males, Mexican-Americans, and those with higher income.

Scientific American talked with Stahlhut about the findings yesterday.

Grants from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (which publishes EHP) and the University of Rochester Environmental Health Sciences Center supported the research.

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