The ubiquitous polycarbonate plastics chemical, bisphenol A—BPA—has been at the center of a fierce debate in the United States between industry, which claims that the chemical is safe, and science, which has linked the estrogenic mimicker to myriad health effects.
This new study involved fetal BPA exposure, revealing chemical alterations in rhesus monkey mammary gland development, said the San Francisco Gate (SF Gate). For the study, researchers fed pregnant rhesus macaques monkeys a piece of fruit that contained BPA every day during their third trimester of pregnancy.
The monkeys’ BPA blood levels reached the average level that BPA has been observed in human blood in the U.S., according to Patricia Hunt, a geneticist at Washington State University and a study author, said the SF Gate. The changes observed reinforce concerns that BPA could contribute to breast cancer, according to the team.
The researchers studied the mammary glands of the female offspring of BPA-exposed monkeys and discovered changes in those glands that lead to dense tissue, said the SF Gate. Dense breast tissue is a risk factor for human breast caner, Hunt explained.
Prior and new studies conducted by Ana Soto and Carlos Sonnenschein, revealed that exposing rodents to small amounts of BPA could alter mammary gland development and lead to precancerous and cancerous lesions later in life. “We think that our results suggest that it is very likely that fetal exposure to BPA would also increase the propensity to develop mammary cancer in monkeys,” Soto said, wrote the SF Gate. The sum of all the findings “strongly suggest that BPA is a breast carcinogen in humans and human exposure to BPA should be curtailed,” she added.
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration has said that BPA is safe and rejected a petition by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) on March 30 to ban the chemical, said the SF Gate. Since, the FDA has called for more BPA studies.
BPA, a compound that uses a combination of phenol and acetone, enters food when it leeches from food and beverage containers, and has been approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) for use in shatter-resistant polycarbonate plastic and durable epoxy resins. BPA leaches into products—hot or cold—and into the skin, from common items such as paper money, toilet paper, and receipts. BPA works in the body as an anti-androgen, a substance that blocks hormone activity, and mimics estrogen, a powerful female hormone. Because of this, BPA affects, even interrupts, sexual development and processes, especially in developing fetuses, infants, and children.
Linked to toxic injury and life threatening illnesses in many hundreds of studies, BPA has also has been linked to future cardiac issues and was found to mix up the body’s hormones, tricking fat cells into taking in more fat or confusing the pancreas into releasing too much insulin, the hormone responsible to regulate the breakdown of fat and carbohydrates in the body. At least two BPA-breast cancer links and links to increased anxiety and depression in preschoolers exposed to BPA in the womb have been revealed. BPA has also been linked to toxic injury and implications in intestinal problems, brain cell connection interference, increased risks of immune system diseases and disorders, problems with liver function testing, and interruptions in chemotherapy treatment. Increased risks for reproductive system disease, for instance, to uterine health and mammalian reproduction; a deadly uterine infection; premature puberty; Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and other female fertility and endocrine issues; and erectile dysfunction and male sexual problems in males as young as the developing fetus have been linked to BPA. Very significantly, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently said that BPA may affect the development of young and unborn children.