The negative health effects of BPA exposure have become regular headlines in the news. BPA, or bisphenol-A, is a chemical found in many common products, from cans and dental fillings to cash register receipts. Unfortunately, its exposure is associated with a range of health concerns including diabetes, cancer, and obesity. Now, new research has linked it to high blood pressure.
BPA Causes High Blood Pressure
The research, performed by Seoul National University, found that BPA may have a big impact on blood pressure. In the study, volunteers drank soy milk (same brand, same temperature) out of either a can or glass bottle. Afterward, researchers measured how much BPA was in their urine, took their heart rate, and their blood pressure. The result? A 1,600% spike in the level of BPA in the urine of those who drank from a can; heart rate didn't change much, but there was a huge increase in blood pressure.
High Blood Pressure Leads to Bigger Concerns
A rise in blood pressure is known to make you more vulnerable to heart disease. In other words, frequently eating and drinking from food containers laced with BPA can increase your risk of heart disease, among other concerns. If you already have high blood pressure, you are especially at risk.
Avoid the Common Sources of BPA
Elevated blood pressure is just one of many health concerns linked to BPA exposure. The simple reality is that you need to avoid BPA altogether; there is no "okay" level of this junk. What can be tricky is knowing where to avoid BPA. A few of the most common sources of BPA include:
BPA can be found in both one-time use and reusable bottles. Do not drink from a one-time use bottle more than once (or at all), and make sure reusable bottles are clearly labeled BPA-free.
Canned Drinks and Foods
Most cans are lined with a resin containing BPA. Stick to fresh fruits and vegetables and go for glass-bottled beverages. When it comes to foods like soups, salsas, and tomato sauce, choose brands that come in glass jars and cardboard boxes — and that's if you have no choice but to consume processed food. In a perfect world, you should be preparing all your food from scratch.
Microwaveable FoodsMicrowavable foods aren't necessarily the concern, but their packaging often contains polycarbonate plastic, which can release BPA when broken down at high temperatures, such as those you might find in a microwave. Typically, containers with the number 7 recycling code are made with polycarbonate.
How Do You Avoid BPA?
- Sanghyuk, Bae, Yun-Chul, Hong. Exposure to Bisphenol A From Drinking Canned Beverage Increases Blood Pressure. Hypertension. December 8, 2014. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.114.04.261.
- "Bisphenol A (BPA)." National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, n.d. Web. 6 Jan. 2015.
†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.