Chemical Plastic

September 21, 2011

New Study Show Evidences that BPA May Cause Breast Cancer

In a study published on September 1, 2011, researchers suggest that BPA (bisphenol-A) and methylparaben (collectively referred to here as “BPA”) could inhibit the effectiveness of new breast cancer drugs, and potentially cause healthy breast cells to act similar to cancerous cells.

BPA is a chemical used in everyday life; it is found in plastic food containers, the lining of canned food and soda cans, water bottles, other plastic items, and sometimes even on cash register receipts. Methyalpaben is a chemical commonly used in beauty products.

The study, published in the Oxford University Press Journal, Carcinogenesis, found that healthy breast cells, when exposed to BPA and methylparaben, triggered mTOR, the cell mechanism that controls cancer growth. Because the study focuses on BPA and methylparaben and the ability of these chemicals to convert healthy cells into cancerous cells, the findings of the study are also relevant in understanding cancer in women and provides insight for preventative care.

During the study, Drs. Goodson and Dairkee took samples of healthy breast epithelial cells from women that were high-risk for developing cancer or had a personal history of breast cancer. Then, the samples were grown and exposed to BPA at levels similar to those found today in blood, breastmilk, and placental tissue. The researchers found that some of the samples after exposure to the chemicals BPA and methylparaben demonstrated activation of the cell’s central mechanism that controls cancer growth.

Additionally, the study found that when healthy breast cells were exposed to the cancer-preventing drug Tamoxifen after exposure to BPA, the cells did not die as hypothesized. Tamoxifen is proven to trigger “cell death” or apoptosis in the cancer cells when used to treat patients with cancer, so this is both a surprising and troubling finding. Additionally, the study found that BPA also prevented cancer cell death that is known to be triggered by the drug Rapamycin, which is part of a newer class of anti-cancer drugs that were designed to turn off the cancer growth gene. Thus, this study seems to indicate that exposure to BPA and methylparaben may inhibit the effectiveness of cancer fighting drugs.

“We don’t know yet how reversible these effects of BPA are, particularly if cancer has already developed,” says Dr. Goodson. “But it is intriguing to speculate that reducing BPA exposure might have a beneficial effect on any malignant changes that have been induced, and even decrease the overall risk of cancer.”

This is just one of a number of studies that continue to provide us with further evidence regarding the harmful effects of BPA. Presently, Chicago has initiated a ban on baby bottles and cups that contain BPA. Canada went so far as to list BPA as a toxic substance under its environmental protection act and has introduced regulations that will ban selling, advertising, manufacturing or importing baby bottles with BPA-related plastics.

Nowadays, BPA products are embedded into our daily life: from the makeup we wear in the morning, heating our plastic lunch boxes, grabbing a BPA-plastic water bottle, or grabbing a soda can at dinner; we are surrounded in BPA. We have a long way to go to understand the effects of BPA and take effective action to protect ourselves.

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