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PLoS One. 2011;6(10):e26868. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0026868. Epub 2011 Oct 26.

Urinary bisphenol A and type-2 diabetes in U.S. adults: data from NHANES 2003-2008.

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Department of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States of America.



Bisphenol A (BPA) is found in plastics and other consumer products; exposure may lead to insulin resistance and development of type-2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) through over-activation of pancreatic β-cells. Previous studies using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) showed an inconsistent association between prevalence of self-reported T2DM and urinary BPA. We used a different diagnosis method of T2DM (hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c)) with a larger subset of NHANES.


We analyzed data from 4,389 adult participants who were part of a sub-study of environmental phenol measurements in urine from three NHANES cycles from 2003 to 2008. T2DM was defined as having a HbA1c ≥ 6.5% or use of diabetes medication. The weighted prevalence of T2DM was 9.2%. Analysis of the total sample revealed that a two-fold increase in urinary BPA was associated with an odds ratio (OR) of 1.08 of T2DM (95% confidence interval (CI), 1.02 to 1.16), after controlling for potential confounders. However, when we examined each NHANES cycle individually, we only found a statistically significant association in the 2003/04 cycle (n = 1,364, OR = 1.23 (95% CI, 1.07 to 1.42) for each doubling in urinary BPA). We found no association in either the NHANES cycle from 2005/06 (n = 1,363, OR = 1.05 (95% CI, 0.94 to 1.18)); or 2007/08 (n = 1,662, OR = 1.06 (95% CI, 0.91 to 1.23)). Similar patterns of associations between BPA and continuous HbA1c were also observed.


Although higher urinary BPA was associated with elevated HbA1c and T2DM in the pooled analysis, it was driven by data from only one NHANES cycle. Additional studies, especially of a longitudinal design with repeated BPA measurements, are needed to further elucidate the association between BPA and T2DM.

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