New research from the Seoul National University’s department of preventive medicine in Korea has found that even single exposure to BPA can have a direct and immediate impact on cardiovascular health. The study found that when people drank soy milk from a can with BPA linings, the levels of BPA in their urine as well as their blood pressure rose within two hours. However, when the same individuals drank soy milk from glass bottles, which do not use BPA linings, there was no significant change in their BPA levels or blood pressure.

The study, published in Hypertension, a journal of the American Heart Association, was a random controlled trial. Researchers recruited 60 older subjects, majority of them women, to drink soy milk from cans or glass bottles on three separate occasions, weeks apart. Most of the subjects had no history of high blood pressure, though some did.

Soy milk does not have any properties that are known to increase blood pressure and is considered fairly neutral making it less likely to leach BPA from containers, like soda, fruit juice or other acidic beverages.

The study found that when the subjects drank from glass bottles their urinary BPA levels remained fairly low, but when they drank from BPA-lined cans, their urinary BPA levels were about 16 times higher. As their urinary BPA levels rose, so did their systolic blood pressure readings – on average by about 5 millimeters of mercury. In general, every 20 millimeter increase in systolic blood pressure doubles the risk of cardiovascular disease.

While a single instance of increased blood pressure may not be harmful, the findings suggest that multiple exposures on a consistent basis may contribute to hypertension over time. “I think this is a very interesting and important study that adds to the concern of bisphenol A,” said Dr. Karin Michels, an expert on BPA who was not involved in the new research. “It raises a lot of questions. We have such a high rate of hypertension in this country, which has risen, and we haven’t really thought of bisphenol A and its use in cans as one of the causes of that.”

Previous research has found that BPA is an endocrine disruptor that can mimic estrogen, leading the Food and Drug Administration to ban BPA in baby bottles and children’s drinking cups. Canadian regulators formally declared BPA a toxic substance in 2010 and banned it from all children’s products.

Ban BPA from your office by switching to bottleless water coolers! Bottleless water coolers are like miniature water purification plants in your office: the good stuff (like minerals) stay in while the bad stuff (like chlorine, lead, phosphates, and bacteria) comes out, providing your office with the cleanest, best-tasting water delivered to your glass!