Saturday, February 25, 2012

Heart Attacks, Beer and Bis-phenol A

BPA is found in canned beer. It is extracted
from the aluminum can's lining. 
Bis-phenol A, prominently used in beer cans and other food cans, continues to suffer bad health reports.   90% of the world's population has bis phenol A in their blood. Isn't that amazing?

It is increasing likely that this common, cheap, and durable chemical will soon be banned from food contact.

Circulation, the Heart Association Journal, published a report from a University of Exeter group showing that 756 people with coronary disease had relatively high BPA in their blood. High being 1.3 nanogram/milliliter in the blood. This result was significant at 97.3%. (It continues to amaze me how sensitive these tests are.)

When they controlled for all the standard cardiac risk factors, the trend was present at only 94.2%. Still convincing to me, but hard-core statistic geeks and their lawyers will disregard this result since it is less than 95%.

On the other hand, bis-phenol A compounds are pretty stable, and until now the most important medical effect was weak estrogen mimicking. (Meaning that it acted like estrogen in very high doses, causing early puberty in girls and low sperm counts.)

Bis phenol A is used in zillions of things, but most notably in the lining of food cans. Until recently it was used in clear re-usable plastic containers made from polycarbonate, but this has stopped in the US and Canada.  Here are three previous posts, click here and here and here on the estrogen effect.

More diabetes and liver enzyme changes were shown too, but the proof was not that strong.

The mode of action of the bis phenol A may be interaction with the BK ion channel, which transports potassium and calcium in smooth muscle cells; there is speculation about effects via the liver and via the aforementioned estrogen mimic effect.

Glass bottles are best.
So what does this mean? It probably means the packaging industry will be more motivated to convert to BPA-free alternatives to avoid crippling lawsuits.

Maybe you should start buying frozen vegetables instead of canned. Buying food in pouches instead of cans is a good idea too.

I am going to buy my beer in glass bottles.