Bisphenol A leaching into canned drinks increases blood pressure, or does it?

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  • Published: Dec 9, 2014
  • Author: Steve Down
  • Channels: NMR Knowledge Base / UV/Vis Spectroscopy / X-ray Spectrometry / Proteomics / Chemometrics & Informatics / Base Peak / Raman / Infrared Spectroscopy / Atomic / MRI Spectroscopy

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You may have read reports in the last few days that drinking canned drinks will raise your blood pressure. The culprit was named as bisphenol A, a chemical used in the manufacture of epoxy resins that are applied as inner coatings to cans.

Leakage of BPA from the coatings into foods and drinks is not new - there have been so many reports of this occurring that it is accepted now. But new research has suggested that it can raise the blood pressure when canned drinks are consumed. This report, published in Hypertension, by Yun-Chul Hong and Sanghyuk Bae from Seoul National University, explained how soy drinks changed the blood pressure. Two products consumed were from the same manufacturer but were packaged in glass bottles or cans.

"Soy milk was the ideal beverage because there was no known ingredient that elevates blood pressure. However, in a previous intervention study, consuming soy milk lowered the blood pressure in patients with mild to moderate essential hypertension," said the researchers.

What they found was that drinking two cans increased the BPA level in urine, measured by mass spectrometry, by more than 1600% compared with drinking two bottled drinks. The mean BPA concentration after drinking two cans was 20.65 µg/g creatinine.

This increase was accompanied by changes in blood pressure, as the news reports have said. However, that is misleading. In fact, both drinks reduced the blood pressure but the canned drink reduced it less than the bottled drink.

Mark Nelson of the High Blood Pressure Research Council in Australia thinks that it is wrong to conclude that BPA raises blood pressure. "Consuming these soy products reduces blood pressure. You saw that in all the groups. You saw less of it in the ones who consumed it from cans. The correct interpretation would be that consuming it out of cans, you don't get all the benefit," he told ABC Science.

"I think they have shown that drinking from cans attenuates the blood pressure-lowering effect of the soy drink," he concluded.

So beware all you read in headlines and go deeper yourself to find out what really goes on.

Further comment added on January 8, 2015:

This research also drew sharp comment from the American Chemistry Council who stated "This study’s claim that BPA, which is safely used in can linings to protect food and beverages from contamination, ‘may pose a substantial health risk’ is a gross overstatement of the findings, an incredible disservice to public health."

“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."

The ACC also pointed out that soy is not a representative canned drink as it contains variable levels of estrogenic substances so that "slight differences in blood pressure reported in the study may be due to the soy milk itself."

It is also worth noting that a recent FDA report concluded that BPA use in food containers and packaging is safe.

One thing the study in Hypertension has achieved is a fresh examination of the risks, or otherwise, of using BPA where it might come into contact with foods, which cannot be a bad thing.

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