Chemical found in plastic could harm children’s heart functions, professor finds

A pediatrics professor led new research finding a chemical commonly used to make plastic water bottles and DVDs can adversely affect children’s heart functions, Chemical Watch reported Thursday.

Nikki Posnack, an assistant professor of pediatrics, spearheaded the study conducted by scientists at the Children’s National Health System, a children’s hospital in D.C. Researchers used heart cells from newborn rats to test how environmental, clinical and extreme exposure to Bisphenol A – also known as BPA – affects cardiac function, according to Chemical Watch.

The group found that exposure to BPA, which is typically found in plastic and metal food containers, caused reduced spontaneous beating rate and increased beat rate variability in the heart cells. Exposure also impacted the way the cells could handle calcium, but these effects were partially reversible, the article states.

Posnack previously conducted studies using rats to show that BPA can also harm adult heart functions, according to the report. She said in the article that the heart effects of BPA could be related to endocrine disruption, though more research on the topic is needed.

But Steve Hentges, the executive director of the Polycarbonate/BPA Global Group of the American Chemistry Council, said the study does not accurately portray the chemical’s effect on human health.

“For example, the range of concentrations tested in general are well above serum concentrations that are expected, or even possible, in humans,” Hentges told Chemical Watch.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has said that BPA is safe at its current levels found in food and packaging. BPA is banned from baby bottles and sippy cups in the United States.

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