Most days I don’t give a second thought to the leftovers I’m eating from a plastic container at lunch, the plastic water bottles that still sit in my fridge or the plastic-lined tins of tomatoes and beans I toss into the soup for dinner. But new findings released yesterday will make me take a closer look at the plastics I use each day.
For the first time, a study has linked bisphenol A (BPA)—a chemical used in everyday products—to specific health problems in adults, including diabetes and heart disease. Before this, findings on BPA’s potential harmful effects were based on research involving exposure in laboratory animals.
British researchers at the University of Exeter studied urine and blood samples from 1,455 American adults aged 18 to 74. Using U.S. government health data, they found that the 25 percent of study participants with the highest levels of bisphenol A in their bodies were more than twice as likely to have diabetes and/or heart disease compared to the 25 percent with the lowest levels. These findings are similar to the results found in animal studies, which suggest the chemical may disrupt hormones, especially estrogen. The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
In April, Health Canada called BPA a dangerous chemical harmful to infants and toddlers and announced plans to ban certain products. These new findings raised additional concerns for adults. To lower exposure, consumers should avoid plastic containers with the recycling number 7, many of which contain BPA, or the letters "PC" for polycarbonate, the type of plastic.
Have you taken steps to reduce the amount and kind of plastics you use each day?
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