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Nature news, JAMA publishes study/report on BPA- health effects/disease

'Bisphenol A linked to disease in humans- More studies of the controversial chemical are on the way', a Nature news article by Heidi Ledford, reports that high levels of bisphenol A (BPA) — a chemical used in some containers for food and drink — may be associated with an increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease in humans, a new study has found.

The study, published Sept 16 in this issue of JAMA, is the first large-scale investigation of the controversial chemical's effect on human disease....'Regulatory morass'... Governments around the globe have struggled to evaluate the risk of BPA. In April this year, Canadian (1) officials called the chemical "potentially harmful", and have proposed a ban on baby bottles made with BPA. In January 2007, the European Food Safety Authority said that dietary exposure to BPA was well below what it defined as the tolerable daily intake — but it has since pledged to re-evaluate the compound in light of decisions in the U.S. and Canada. Meanwhile, US officials have convened multiple panels to evaluate the risk posed by BPA. Each reached a different conclusion...'Risk assessment'... As BPA is believed to be a hormone disrupter, most of the discussion about its dangers has revolved around possible effects on reproduction and development. But Melzer, who studies ageing, wondered if BPA might affect diseases commonly associated with that area as well.

The current issue of JAMA publishes the Lang et al study and an article reporting on it-each one is highly interesting and very informative. See below for links to both on JAMA's website- access free for both when I visited today.(2)
Lang and colleagues report the results of the first major epidemiologic study to examine the health effects associated with the ubiquitous estrogenic chemical bisphenol A (BPA). This compound is the base chemical (monomer) used to make polycarbonate plastic food and beverage containers, the resin lining of cans, and dental sealants; it also is found in "carbonless" paper used for receipts as well as a wide range of other common household products. Based on their analysis of data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2003-2004, Lang et al report a significant relationship between urine concentrations of BPA and cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and liver-enzyme abnormalities in a representative sample of the adult US population. This report, suggesting links between BPA and some of the most significant and economically burdensome human diseases, is based on a cross-sectional study and therefore cannot establish causality; follow-up longitudinal studies should thus be a high priority. Yet many peer-reviewed published studies report on related adverse effects of BPA in experimental animals, and cell culture studies identify the molecular mechanisms mediating these responses. These experimental findings add biological plausibility to the results reported by Lang et al.

Based on this background information, the study by Lang et al, while preliminary with regard to these diseases in humans, should spur US regulatory agencies to follow the recent action taken by Canadian regulatory agencies, which have declared BPA a 'toxic chemical' requiring aggressive action to limit human and environmental exposures. Alternatively, Congressional action could follow the precedent set with the recent passage of federal legislation designed to limit exposures to another family of compounds, phthalates, also used in plastic. Like BPA, phthalates are detectable in virtually everyone in the United States. This bill moves US policy closer to the European model, in which industry must provide data on the safety of a chemical before it can be used in products.

(1)http://www.nature.com/news/2008/080916/full/news.2008.1110.htmlPublished online 16 September 2008 | Nature | doi:10.1038/news.2008.1110
'Association of Urinary Bisphenol A Concentration With Medical Disorders and Laboratory Abnormalities in Adults (Iain A. Lang, PhD; Tamara S. Galloway, PhD; Alan Scarlett, PhD; William E. Henley, PhD; Michael Depledge, PhD, DSc; Robert B. Wallace, MD; David Melzer, MB, PhD).
'Bisphenol A and Risk of Metabolic Disorders' (Frederick S. vom Saal, PhD; John Peterson Myers, PhD).

Note also FDA's SEPTEMBER 16, 2008 BPA SUBCOMMITTEE PUBLIC MEETING , Public Notice at http://www.fda.gov/oc/advisory/accalendar/2008/SciBrdSub91608.htm, Meeting Materials (links)
http://www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/ac/08/briefing/2008-0038b1_01_00_index.htm including the Charge to Subcommittee of FDA of the 'Draft Assessment of Bisphenol A for use in food contact applications'
See also the 38pp to conclusions from NTP's Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction entitled: 'NTP-CERHR Monograph on the Potential Human Reproduction and Developmental Effects of Biphenola'- Sept 2008, NIH Publication 08-5994 (NTP: National Toxicology Program estalished in June, 1998 to provide timely, unbiased, scientifically sound evaluation for adverse effects on reproduction or development resulting from human exposures to substances in the environment. http://cerhr.niehs.nih.gov/chemicals/bisphenol/bisphenol.pdf

Subsequent to an unexpected observation in 1997, numerous laboratory animal studies have identified low-dose drug-like effects of BPA at levels less than the dose used by the US FDA and the EPA to estimate the current human acceptable daily intake dose (ADI) deemed safe for humans. These studies have shown adverse effects of BPA on the brain, reproductive system, and—most relevant to the findings of Lang et al—metabolic processes, including alterations in insulin homeostasis and liver enzymes. However, no prior studies examining BPA for effects on cardiovascular function have been conducted in laboratory animals or humans.

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