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February 21, 2006

Does Chemical In Consumer Plastics Play A Role In Insulin Resistance?

Topics: Health Issues

2003-0421-polycarb-bottles.png.jpgInsulin resistance is an inability of the cells to properly use insulin, a hormone needed to process glucose (blood sugar) for energy. Insulin resistance causes high blood glucose (hyperglycemia), which can lead to type 2 diabetes. In people with type 1 diabetes, insulin resistance can lead to double diabetes.

Bisphenol-A is the building block of polycarbonate plastic, a hard plastic used to make numerous consumer products, including most baby bottles and 5-gallon water bottles. Bisphenol-A is also used in epoxy resins, in the plastic lining of some food cans, in some dental sealants, and as an additive in other consumer products. Spanish scientists studying adult mice found that injections of the synthetic chemical or a female estradiol hormone reduced glucose and increased insulin in the bloodstream. After four days, mice treated with BPA or estradiol had chronic hyperinsulinemia (high levels of insulin in the blood) and altered test results for insulin and glucose tolerance.

The scientists assert that the study shows a link between environmental estrogens and insulin resistance, and that heavy exposure to estrogens increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and dyslipidemia (unhealthy levels of blood fats such as cholesterol).

While Bisphenol A was first synthesized in 1891, the first evidence of its estrogenicity came from experiments in the 1930's feeding BPA to ovariectomised rats. Bisphenol A mimics the sex hormone estradiol in the body, acting "like birth control pills." The body is exquisitely sensitive to sex hormones, needing only tiny amounts to trigger major changes. That's why scientists are concerned about the impact of even the extremely low levels of bisphenol A found in people.

In December 2005, research from a University of Cincinnati scientific team on BPA added to the growing body of scientific evidence indicating that it should not be used for food contact materials (Low doses of Bisphenol A (BPA), a packaging chemical, can damage the development of young brains, according to new scientific study).

Posted by Richard at February 21, 2006 4:00 PM

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