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.

January 30, 2011

Choose your Water Bottle of Plastic very carefully

Choose your water bottles very carefully in order to prevent chemicals in the plastic from leaching into your water. So, which plastic water bottles don’t leach chemicals?

Plastic water bottles are very convenient for carting water around when we are on the go, as they don’t break if we drop them. However, it is worth paying attention to the type of plastic your water bottle is made of, to ensure that the chemicals in the plastic do not leach into the water.

If you taste plastic, you are drinking it, so get yourself another bottle. To be certain that you are choosing a bottle that does not leach, check the recycling symbol on your bottle. If it is a No.2 HDPE (high density polyethylene), or a No.4 LDPE (low density polyethylene), or a No.5 PP (polypropylene), your bottle is fine.

The type of plastic bottle in which water is usually sold is usually a No.1, and is only recommended for one time use. Do not refill it. Better to use a reusable water bottle, and fill it with your own filtered water from home and keep these single-use bottles out of the landfill.

Unfortunately, those fabulous colourful hard plastic lexan bottles made with polycarbonate plastics and identified by the No.7 recycling symbol, may leach BPA. Bisphenol A is a xenoestrogen, a known endocrine disruptor, meaning it disturbs the hormonal messaging in our bodies.

Synthetic xenoestrogens are linked to breast cancer and uterine cancer in women, decreased testosterone levels in men, and are particularly devastating to babies and young children. BPA has even been linked to insulin resistance and Type 2 Diabetes. For more of the science on the effects of BPA on our endocrine system etc.

See these studies: Environmental Health Perspectives Journal. Nalgene, the company that manufactures the lexan water bottles also makes #2 HDPE bottles in the same sizes and shapes, so we have a viable alternative. Order one at Nalgene. Unfortunately, most plastic baby bottles and drinking cups are made with plastics containing Bisphenol A.

In 2006 Europe banned all products made for children under age 3 containing BPA, and as of Dec. 2006 the city of San Franscisco followed suit. In March 2007 a billion-dollar class action suit was commenced against Gerber, Playtex, Evenflo, Avent, and Dr. Brown’s in Los Angeles superior court for harm done to babies caused by drinking out of baby bottles and sippy cups containing BPA. So, to be certain that your baby is not exposed, use glass bottles.

Check the recycling numbers on all your plastic food containers as well, and gradually move to storing all food in glass or ceramic. Store water in glass or brass if possible, and keep it away from direct sunlight.

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