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The sugary drinks Americans love can endanger heart health. And now researchers believe contaminants from their containers add to the risk.
Studies show that a substance called bisphenol A (BPA), used in aluminum cans, contaminates our soft drinks, beer and other beverages, increasing the chances for heart disease and kidney problems. It may be a particularly serious issue for children.
“While our cross-sectional study cannot definitively confirm that BPA contributes to heart disease or kidney dysfunction in children, together with our previous study of BPA and obesity, this new data adds to already existing concerns about BPA as a contributor to cardiovascular risk in children and adolescents,” says researcher Leonardo Trasande. “It further supports the call to limit exposure of BPA in this country, especially in children. Removing it from aluminum cans is probably one of the best ways we can limit exposure. There are alternatives that manufacturers can use to line aluminum cans.”
Children in the United States are exposed to BPA early in life. Surveys have shown that by age 6, nearly 92 percent of children have some trace of BPA in their urine. Its use has been banned in the European Union and Canada, and in the United States for use in baby bottles and sippy cups. Last September, Trasande’s group published a study showing a significant association between obesity and children and adolescents with higher concentrations of BPA in their urine in the Journal of the American Medical Association.