In an article published on February 3, 2018 in the peer-reviewed journal BMJ Open, Tamara Galloway and colleagues from the University of Exeter, UK, reported on a study investigating whether a ‘real-world’ dietary intervention may allow achieving a reduction in BPA exposure.
The study involved a total of 94 healthy UK teenagers from six schools. During 7 days, the participants followed a set of self-designed literature-informed guidelines aimed at reducing the consumption of BPA-containing foods, and documented their food intake in a diary. Urinary BPA levels were measured before and after the intervention period.
Before the intervention, urinary BPA was detected in 86% of participants at a median value of 1.22 ng/ml. The intervention diet had no significant effect on BPA levels across all study participants. However, the persons who had highest starting urinary BPA levels in the beginning of the study were more likely to demonstrate lower levels postintervention. The authors concluded that, overall, “participants were unable to achieve a reduction in their urinary BPA over the 7-day trial period, despite good compliance to supplied guidelines.”
The study participants were also asked to fill out a questionnaire aimed at assessing the long-term sustainability of the diet followed during the intervention period. This survey revealed that “avoidance of BPA was not easily achieved on an individual level.” The participants highlighted “feelings of lifestyle restriction” due to the diet requirements limiting their food choices. Two thirds of the participants “indicated that they would be unlikely to sustain such a diet long term,” due to perceived food choice restrictions as well as “the inadequacy of current labeling practices,” the latter causing “difficulty in identifying BPA-free foods.” In light of this, and given the current state of “uncertainty over the human health effects of BPA,” the authors argued that, “until a definitive assessment of the health risks of BPA is available, informed choice over whether or not to consume BPA and similar chemicals in foodstuffs should be facilitated by better labeling.”
Rebecca Williams (February 4, 2018). “Food packaging chemical BPA ‘found in digestive system of 86% of teenagers.’” Sky News
Victoria Allen (February 5, 2018). “Gender-bending chemicals found in plastic and linked to breast and prostate cancer are found in 86% of teenagers’ bodies.” Mail Online
Kate Sheridan (February 5, 2018). “Chemical in plastic that wreaks havoc with hormones may be impossible to avoid, study finds.” Newsweek
Galloway, T., et al. (2018). “An engaged research study to assess the effect of a ‘real-world’ dietary intervention on urinary bisphenol A (BPA) levels in teenagers.” BMJ Open (published February 3, 2018).