BPA link to increased blood pressure ‘sensationalist’ - CAS

By Joseph James Whitworth contact

- Last updated on GMT

BPA has been heavily studied but debate remains over its safety
BPA has been heavily studied but debate remains over its safety
Findings that drinking or eating from cans lined with Bisphenol A (BPA) could raise blood pressure are “sensationalist”, according to the Center for Accountability in Science (CAS).

Authors of a study published in the American Heart Association's journal, Hypertension​, said it demonstrated consuming canned beverages and the consequent increase of BPA exposure increase blood pressure acutely.

Dr Joseph Perrone, chief science officer at CAS, said it was ‘amazing​’ the authors concluded orally ingesting BPA may raise blood pressure.

“The data in this study clearly show that participants’ blood pressure readings were virtually identical whether they drank two servings of soy milk from glass, ingesting low levels of BPA, or whether they had a serving of soy milk from a glass container and a serving of soy milk from a can lined with BPA," ​he said.

“It’s simply irresponsible for researchers to take the weak findings of a very small study of 60, mostly female, participants and suggest that widespread use of BPA could increase cardiovascular disease.

“Most Americans don’t have the time or expertise needed to review this study in-depth and understand its limitations. Instead, they’re going to see a scary headline about how drinking from cans might give them a heart attack and begin to worry about nothing.”

CAS claims to provide a ‘balanced look at the science behind news stories’.

Study method

Researchers conducted a randomized crossover trial recruiting 60 adults over the age of 60 from a community center.

Each trial member visited the study site three times and was randomly provided with soy milk in glass bottles or cans.

Urine was then collected and tested for BPA concentration, blood pressure and heart rate variability two hours after drinking each beverage.

Urinary BPA concentration increased by up to 1,600% after consuming canned beverages compared to after consuming the glass-bottled beverages.

"A 5mm Hg increase in systolic blood pressure by drinking two canned beverages may cause clinically significant problems, particularly in patients with heart disease or hypertension," ​said Yun-Chul Hong, study author.

"A 20mm Hg increase in systolic blood pressure doubles the risk of cardiovascular disease."

‘A gross overstatement’

Steven Hentges of the American Chemistry Council (ACC) Polycarbonate/BPA Global Group said the study’s claim is a gross overstatement of the findings.

“This study’s claim that BPA…‘may pose a substantial health risk’ is a gross overstatement of the findings, an incredible disservice to public health, and runs contrary to years of research by government scientists, as well as newly-released scientific documentation from the US Food and Drug Administration,” ​he said.

He said the conclusions from the small-scale study significantly over-interpret the data measured.

“As reported by the authors, there were no statistically significant differences in the primary blood pressure measurements of the three treatment groups, whether participants drank soy milk from glass bottles or cans.

“Additionally, the promotional materials that accompanied the study suggested that exposure to BPA from drinking any canned beverage can increase blood pressure. These statements are not supported by the study’s findings and will inappropriately alarm consumers.”  

Hentges said it only examined soy milk, which is not representative of all canned beverages.

“As noted by the authors, blood pressure is believed to be controlled by estrogen receptors and it is well-known that soy milk naturally contains variable levels of estrogenic substances. Accordingly, the use of soy milk in the study confounds the results.”   

Hong, also chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine and director of the Environmental Health Center at Seoul National University College of Medicine in South Korea, advised consumers to eat fresh foods or glass bottle-contained foods rather than canned foods.

He added he was ‘hopeful’ that manufacturers will develop and use healthy alternatives to BPA for the inner lining of can containers.

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