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BPA sends false signals to female hearts

Ingredient of some plastics and food packaging can interfere with cardiac rhythm

4:23pm, December 19, 2011

Bisphenol A toys with the female heart, a new study finds. And under the right conditions, its authors worry, this near-ubiquitous pollutant might even prove deadly.

BPA is a building block of clear hard plastics, dental sealants and the resins lining food cans. Studies have shown that throughout the industrial world, nearly everyone regularly encounters the compound, albeit at trace concentrations.

That’s small consolation, says Laura Vandenberg of Tufts University in Medford, Mass.: In the new BPA study, “the most effective dose was very close to — if not completely overlapping — what’s been reported in humans,” she says.

Parts-per-trillion concentrations of BPA triggered heart-muscle cells to begin beating to their own internal drummers. These cells should instead hold off beating until they receive signals from a central pacemaker, explains Hong-Sheng Wang of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, whose tea

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