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Chemical in Common Household Plastic May Cause Abnormal Heart Rhythms in Women

University of Cincinnati researchers have found that Bisphenol  A (BPA), a chemical found in many household plastics, may be harmful for the heart, particularly in women.


The results of this and several other studies relating to BPA were presented in Washington, D.C., at ENDO 09, the Endocrine Society's annual meeting, June 10-13, 2009.


The researchers with the Department of Pharmacology and Cell Biophysics found that exposure to BPA resulted in the same abnormal heart activity in female rats and mice that was observed with exposure to estrogen.


BPA is an environmental pollutant that has been shown to mimic estrogen.


Head researcher, Scott Belcher, PhD, stated "both BPA and estrogen rapidly stimulated contraction by altering control of the concentrations of free calcium inside the heart cell but only in heart muscle cells from females, showing that these effects were sex-specific."


They determined that estrogen receptors that are only present in women were responsible for making the heart muscles act abnormally.


The researchers are going to attempt to recreate these findings with human studies.  Meanwhile, they warn that detriments to cardiovascular health may soon be added to the increasingly long list of potential health hazards associated with BPA.


BPA is used to make the hard clear plastic used in many food containers, water bottles and the lining of food cans. Beyond its potential to cause negative heart affects in women, the chemical has already been shown to increase the risk of neurological defects, diabetes and breast and prostate cancer.

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