Are Plastic Bottles and Packaged Foods Poisoning Your Arteries? YES

It is estimated that we are exposed to over 80,000 industrial chemicals with only a small fraction having been studied for health consequences. One family of chemicals that has been studied is the bisphenol family such as BPA and BPS, used since the 1950s. BPA and BPS  have been reported to enter into the environment directly through the leaching of these plastic products.  Increasing research have been conducted to determine the potential human exposure level of bisphenols and they can be routinely found in human urine samples.  The residues in human is of public concern due to a range of adverse health effects of these synthetic compounds including endocrine system disruption, reproductive disability, and neurotoxicity. Now new data indicate that a version of bisphenols called brominated bisphenols harm the lining of our arteries called the endothelium.


The study investigated the endothelial effects of bisphenols and brominated bisphenols involved in aortic pathological structure, endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) activity, synthase activity and nitric oxide (NO) production in human umbilical vein endothelial cells mice.

A type of bisphenols called brominated bisphenols, such as tetrabromobisphenol S (TBBPS) significantly inhibited NO production by 56%.

The enzymatic activity of eNOS decreased by 16.9% after exposure to TBBPS. Moreover, TBBPS was observed to increase aorta thickness significantly in mice and induce endothelial dysfunction. 


This basic science study raises the concern that bisphenols, particularly brominated bisphenols like BBPA, may induce harm to arteries by reducing NO production, reducing activity of an enzyme called eNOS, and thickening arteries. All of these, if true in humans, could lead to hypertension and disease of arteries like atherosclerosis.

What can be done to limit our exposure to these compounds? A resource can be found at the Environmental Working Group website and the recommendations include:

  1. Substitute fresh, frozen or dried food for canned.
  2. Limit how many packaged foods you eat.
  3. For those who cannot avoid foods in BPA-lined cans, rinsing the food in water may help lower the level of BPA in the food. Bonus: Rinsing cuts back on other additives too, such as sodium on beans or sweet syrup on fruit.
  4. Never heat food in the can. Transfer it to a stainless steel pot or pan for stovetop cooking, or microwave in glass – not plastic.
  5. Do not buy drinks in plastic bottles. Use a glass or metal water bottle you fill at home both for your health and the health of the planet. 

The risks of bisphenols go beyond artery damage and include endocrine disruption, fertility, risk of diabetes type 2, and brain disease. You can learn more here



Dr. Joel Kahn

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