BPA and Breast Cancer

An estimated 8 billion pounds of BPA are produced globally on an annual basis. It is fabricated into thousands of products made of hard clear polycarbonate plastics and tough epoxy resins including safety equipment, eye glasses, computer and cell phone casings, dental sealants, water and beverage bottles, epoxy paint and coatings, receipt papers from thermal printers (grocery stores/libraries) and the wrappers from fast food products, etc.

BPA-based plastic breaks down readily, particularly when heated or washed with strong detergents. Trace BPA exposure has been shown to disrupt the endocrine system and trigger  a wide variety of disorders, including chromosomal and reproductive abnormalities, impaired brain and neurological functions, cancer, cardiovascular system damage, adult-onset diabetes, early puberty, obesity and resistance to chemotherapy.

BPA is found in plastics

In March 2007, Environmental Working Group published a ground breaking study documenting that BPA had leached from epoxy can lining into more than 1/2  of the canned foods, beverages and canned liquid infant formulas that were randomly purchased around the country. The EWG study, the first of its kind, helped explain why the U.S. Centers for Disease Control had found detectable levels of BPA in the urine of 93% of Americans over the age of 6.

BPA is linked to breast cancer:

“Chronic low-level exposure to a compound found in a variety of plastic household items could pose a threat to women who overproduce a protein linked with breast cancer.” Say researchers at University of Alabama at Birmingham.  Coral Lamartiniere, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology and senior scientist in the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center, and postdoctoral fellow Sarah Jenkins, Ph.D., assessed the effect of chronic, oral exposure to the compound bisphenol A (BPA) in mice genetically modified to overproduce the protein HER2/erbB2, present in about 15-30 percent of women with breast cancer. The results were published online Oct. 12, 2011, by the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

A Study on BPA

The latest on the BPA front comes from a small study in CA involving only 5 families. Before the study, all had habitually eaten meals prepared outside of the home, including canned foods and sodas and frozen dinners.  They all microwaved foods in plastic containers.  For the study, the families switched to a diet of fresh organic meals and snacks delivered by a caterer and stored in glass and stainless steel containers.  Urine samples taken at the study’s beginning and end showed that BPA levels dropped by more than 69%, on average, in only 3 days.  The findings were published in a report from the nonprofit Breast Cancer Fund and in the Silent Spring Institute, a breast cancer research group.

How to avoid BPA exposure:

  •  Don’t use plastic bottles/containers to store water or food and opt for stainless steel or glass instead because BPA free plastics can leach other harmful chemicals.
  • If using plastics, wash them by hand, not in the dishwasher
  • Do not microwave food in plastic containers or in plastic wrap
  • Avoid canned foods or purchase from companies that are BPA free. Seven companies that are BPA free 
  • Limit the handling of receipts from grocery stores, libraries, etc.  If you work in the industry bring attention to this issue and ask management to purchase BPA free receipt paper for the health of their employees.  If you do handle large amount of receipts wash your hands often.
  • ask for BPA-free composite dental fillings.

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