Researchers at the University of Michigan School of Public Health found a significant association between the chemical BPA (bisphenol A) and cancer development. The researchers found liver tumors in mice exposed to the chemical during gestation and nursing.
“We found that 27 percent of the mice exposed to one of three different doses of BPA through their mother’s diet developed liver tumors and some precancerous lesions. The higher the dosage, the more likely they were to present with tumors,” says Caren Weinhouse, first author and a doctoral student in the School of Public, Laboratory Equipment reports. The paper was published online in Environmental Health Perspectives.
Mice whose mothers received the highest dosage, 50 mg of BPA per kg diet, were seven times more likely to have tumors than those whose mothers were not exposed to BPA.. Given the liver tumors found in mice, “let’s take another look at BPA and cancer in humans,” Weinhouse says. The researchers next plan to look for biomarkers in the mice genes that may signal risk for disease then see if similar characteristics are found in humans, according to Laboratory Equipment.
Bisphenol A (BPA) is commonly found in many plastics, including tableware and food storage containers, in cash register receipts, and in the lining of food cans. BPA was once common in baby bottles and sippy cups, but many companies have stopped using it in light of concerns about a variety of health effects. BPA has been implicated in a number of abnormalities and diseases and for possible effects on the body’s hormone functioning. Studies have estimated that at least 90 percent of Americans have some level of BPA in their bodies, according to Laboratory Equipment.
For their study, the researchers fed six-week-old female mice diets containing one of three environmentally relevant doses of BPA prior to mating, then throughout pregnancy and nursing. They then followed one male and one female from each litter through to 10 months of age. “A previous study that exposed adult mice to much higher doses of BPA did not show the same link to cancer development,” said Dana Dolinoy, the John G. Searle Assistant Professor of Environmental Health Sciences and senior/corresponding author of the study. “This tells us the timing of exposure and the dosage are extremely critical in evaluating study outcomes,” according to Laboratory Equipment.