A new study has found that BPA, a chemical found in plastics and the lining of food and beverage containers, may cause a rise in blood pressure after only a single exposure. Published in the journal Hypertension, the study examined the effects of drinking soy milk from glass or BPA-containing cans in 60 older adults. Each participant drank soy milk on three separate occasions from either 2 glass bottles, 2 cans, or 1 glass bottle and 1 can, alternating on each occasion. Soy milk was chosen as a beverage because it does not have any constituents known to affect blood pressure. Here’s what the researchers discovered:
Within two hours of drinking from cans, urinary concentrations of BPA jumped more than 1600% compared to when the same participants drank out of glass bottles.
Within two hours of drinking from cans, the average systolic blood pressure of participants increased by a statistically significant 4.5 mm HG. The same participants did not experience a significant increase in blood pressure when they drank from glass.
Drinking from cans did not, however, produce a statistically significant difference in heart rate variability.
The findings are important for several reasons. The new study was a randomized controlled trial, whereas some past studies on BPA were only observational. In addition, BPA’s effect on blood pressure is of possible clinical relevance, especially if one drinks from plastics or cans regularly, as a person’s risk for cardiovascular disease doubles with every 20 mm HG increase in systolic blood pressure. Finally, the results are concerning because exposure to BPA, which is an endocrine disruptor, has been associated with other diseases, such as heart disease and cancer. To decrease one’s exposure to BPA, an author of the new study recommends people consume fresh foods, and use glass instead of plastic and cans when possible.