Bisphenol A, obesity, and type 2 diabetes mellitus: genuine concern or unnecessary preoccupation?

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Bisphenol A (BPA) is a ubiquitous industrial chemical found in a variety of plastic containers intended for food storage and in the epoxy resin linings of metal food and beverage cans, where it is used to prevent corrosion, food contamination, and spoilage. BPA has been linked recently to a wide variety of medical disorders and is known to have estrogenic activity with genomic as well as nongenomic estrogen receptor-mediated effects. Given the rapidly increasing prevalence rates of metabolic disorders such as obesity and type 2 diabetes, BPA has come under recent intense scrutiny in scientific and lay communities as a potential endocrine-disrupting compound with diabetogenic effects. The purpose of this review is to examine critically the available literature investigating the link between BPA and alterations in metabolic health. Typical levels of exposure to BPA in daily life are discussed, and both epidemiologic human data and mechanistic preclinical studies that have tested associations between BPA and obesity and diabetes are analyzed. Last, current policies and views of national and international regulatory agencies regarding the safety of BPA use are summarized.

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