Drinking from Plastic Bottles May Increase Type 2 Diabetes Risk, Study Warns

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A groundbreaking new study has found direct evidence linking a key chemical ingredient in plastic bottles to a higher risk of type 2 diabetes.

Published in the journal Diabetes, the study reveals that Bisphenol A (BPA), used in the production of food and drink packaging including plastic water bottles, can decrease sensitivity to insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar metabolism.

The findings, to be presented at the 2024 Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association, urge the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reconsider the safe exposure limits for BPA in bottles and food containers.

Previous research has indicated that BPA, a chemical used in plastics and epoxy resins, can disrupt human hormones. However, this new study is the first to directly assess whether BPA exposure increases the risk of type 2 diabetes in adults.

“The findings are the first to provide evidence that BPA administration may increase type 2 diabetes risk,” scientists from California Polytechnic State University said in a statement.

In the study, researchers randomly assigned 40 healthy adults to receive either a placebo or approximately 50 micrograms of BPA per kilogram of their body weight daily, which is the amount currently deemed safe by the EPA.

Participants who received BPA were less responsive to insulin after four days, a change not observed in the placebo group.

“These results suggest that the US EPA safe dose should be reconsidered and that healthcare providers might need to recommend changes to patients,” the researchers warned.

They advised that reducing BPA exposure by using alternatives like stainless steel or glass bottles and BPA-free cans could lower diabetes risk.

Despite the convenience of plastic bottles, a growing body of research is raising concerns about the health impacts of their chemical components.

Another recent study, published in the journal Eco-Environment & Health, found that plastic water bottles exposed to sunlight could release harmful chemicals. This study assessed the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted from six types of plastic water bottles subjected to sunlight and discovered that some bottles released highly toxic organic compounds, including known carcinogens like n-hexadecane, posing serious health risks.

These findings underscore the need for stricter industry regulations to reduce exposure to harmful chemicals.

“This is only the beginning of highlighting the need for informed public health recommendations and policies,” said Robert Gabbay, Chief Scientific and Medical Officer of the American Diabetes Association (ADA).

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