LONDON (Mail Online): Drinking water from plastic cups or bottles could be giving millions of Britons headaches.
New research shows that a controversial gender-bending chemical in synthetic packaging may trigger migraines.
Bisphenol A (BPA) has already been linked to a range of heath problems including obesity, infertility and heart attacks.
Now the latest study published in the journal Toxicological Sciences points to BPA causing the debilitating headaches which afflict one in seven UK adults.
The authors urge sufferers to strip out potential sources of contamination from their daily diet, which include plastic microwave trays, bottles and office water coolers.
Their report states: ‘A previously performed study using a “fresh foods” dietary intervention demonstrated a significant decrease in urinary BPA (66 per cent reduction) in patients after just three days.
‘These findings combined with our results suggest that a clinical trial to decrease BPA exposure and levels in migraine sufferers…may reduce headache frequency and/or severity, revealing strategies that may increase the quality of life of migraineurs.’
The University of Kansas study emulated human exposure to BPA in the laboratory.
Researchers observed the behaviour of rats, half of whom were administered the chemical once every three days.
Within half an hour of the dose, those exposed to BPA became less active, steered clear of loud noise and strong light, were easily startled and showed signs of tenderness to the head.
The rats brains also gave off telltale signals of an influx of oestrogen.
Migraines have been linked to sudden changes in levels of the female sex hormone, which BPA mimics.
The report states: ‘The behavioural measures used [were] designed to model many of the symptoms humans experience during a migraine attack.
‘Rats exposed to BPA demonstrated significantly augmented migraine-like behaviours.
‘These results imply that BPA has the ability to amplify symptoms that are used to diagnose the disorder in human patients, suggesting that exposure to BPA would increase both the incidence and prevalence of this disorder.’
Around five million Britons suffer from migraines though women are three times more likely to have them.
Neurologist Dr Fayyaz Ahmed, of the Migraine Trust charity, said: ‘We know Bisphenol A is used in materials such as food packaging, plastics and tins.
‘In most sufferers, attacks are genetically linked and the triggers only generate them in those who are predisposed.
‘But if BPA is implicated in the genesis of migraines than this would certainly be a milestone in headache research.’
Bisphenol A is so commonplace because of the range of products its found in, everything from car dashboards to shower curtains to till receipts and cosmetics.
Countries across the world including EU member states, Canada and China – have moved to ban the chemical from baby bottles.
The previous study which tested a fresh foods diet picked families from San Francisco who ate canned food and were exposed to BPA through at least two of four other sources: drinking from personal water bottles; drinking from office water coolers; eating meals away from home and eating eating meals microwaved in plastic.
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