"We are entering a new era of risk-factor discovery, where focus is on finding toxic chemicals in the environment that act as triggers for heart disease," said Dr. Philip Landrigan, chairman of the Department of Preventive Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City.
The findings are significant because "heart disease is responsible each year for 630,000 deaths, according to the CDC, [so] any factor that is responsible for even a small fraction of these cardiovascular deaths will be responsible for a large number of deaths," he said.
Dr. Fred vom Saal, professor of biological sciences at the University of Missouri-Columbia, said, "This is a big deal. Because it is possible to do something about this factor; reduce exposure to BPA by altering its use."
The danger of putting BPA in baby products such as bottles, 'sippy' cups and baby-formula containers has garnered much attention in past years.
BPA is known to mimic the effects of estrogen in the body and research finds that it may have detrimental effects on brain and reproductive development when the baby is in the womb and as an infant.
In response to the research, some states and manufacturers have banned its use in baby products.
In March 2009, six major manufactures agreed to eliminate BPA from baby bottles.
Connecticut became the first state to ban BPA from infant formula and baby food containers in June 2009, and Minnesota has since followed suit with a ban that went in to effect Jan. 1, 2010, prohibiting the use of BPA in 'sippy' cup and baby bottles.
Although the potential risks associated with putting BPA in water bottles, soda and soup liners, and other plastic containers commonly used to hold our food and beverages has recently become a topic of debate, the FDA has yet to change safety regulations on the chemical.
After an independent FDA panel in October 2008 found that the agency's position on BPA was scientifically flawed, the FDA, with the support of the American Chemistry Council, entered discussions on a possible change in its stance on BPA.
In a news conference Friday, they announced that they now share the perspective of the National Toxicology Program that "there is some concern" about the possible harm caused by use of BPA in baby products and will pursue further research on its toxicity for infants and children.
At the same time, FDA deputy commissioner Josh Sharfstein affirmed that, as of now, "the FDA does support the use of baby bottles with BPA … and is not saying that it is unsafe to use a baby bottle with BPA"; only that more research is needed to rule out possible harm.
The FDA will invest in more than $30 million worth of short- and long-term studies that will assess the dangers of BPA for developing minds and bodies. And although it is not officially condemning the chemical, FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg said, "the FDA is supporting reasonable steps to reduce human exposure to BPA, including actions by industry and recommendations to consumers on food preparation."