Exposure to bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical once used widely in plastic bottles and still found in aluminum cans, appears to be associated with a biomarker for higher risk of heart and kidney disease in children and adolescents, according to an analysis of national survey data by NYU School of Medicine researchers.
The study, published in the Jan. 9, 2013, online issue of Kidney International, found that even low levels of BPA like the ones identified in this national survey of children and adolescents increase oxidative stress and inflammation that promotes protein leakage into the urine, which is a biomarker for early renal impairment and future risk of developing coronary heart disease.
The study adds to the growing concerns about BPA, which was recently banned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration but is still used as an internal coating for aluminum cans. Manufacturers say the chemical provides an antiseptic function, but studies have shown the chemical disrupts multiple mechanisms of human metabolism.
"While our cross-sectional study cannot definitively confirm that BPA contributes to heart disease or kidney dysfunction in children, together with our previous study of BPA and obesity, this new data adds to already existing concerns about BPA as a contributor to cardiovascular risk in children and adolescents," said Dr. Leonardo Trasande, associate professor of pediatrics, environmental medicine and population health and co-lead author of the study. "It further supports the call to limit exposure of BPA in this country, especially in children. Removing it from aluminum cans is probably one of the best ways we can limit exposure. There are alternatives that manufacturers can use to line aluminum cans."