Bisphenol A, or BPA, is one of the most commonly produced chemicals in the world. It is used in many products, including plastic food and beverage containers, the linings of metal food cans and sometimes in receipts. It is estimated that 90 percent of Americans have some level of BPA in their bodies. Scientists and environmental advocates have been concerned about BPA exposure for a number of years because it is an “endocrine disruptor,” meaning it can interfere with human hormones, specifically estrogen. The chemical is already associated with many health problems, including obesity, infertility, behavioral changes, early-onset puberty, cardiovascular issues and diabetes. Research has also linked BPA to cancer. In particular, scientists are worried about the risk of cancer with regards to BPA exposure during pregnancy.
Study Links BPA to Live Tumors, Precancerous Lesions,
Liver Cancer in Mice
In January 2014, researchers at the University of Michigan School of Public Health published a study showing that BPA is linked to liver cancer in mice that were exposed to the chemical through their mothers. The scientists gave three different doses of BPA to female mice before mating, during pregnancy and throughout nursing. One male and female from each litter were selected and followed for 10 months.
Overall, the researchers found that 27 percent of the BPA-exposed mice developed either liver tumors or precancerous lesions. Lead author and U-M doctoral student in the School of Public Health’s Department of Environmental Health Sciences Caren Weinhouse stated that “The higher the dosage, the more likely they were to present with tumors.” In mice whose mothers had the highest dosage of BPA (50 mg per kg of diet), the risk of tumors was seven times as high compared to those whose mothers were not exposed to BPA.
The authors of the study noted that the strain of mouse used in the study is naturally resistant to liver tumor development, but the tumors occurred anyway.
The liver tumors did not vary with gender, and affected both male and female mice. Dana Dolinoy, senior/corresponding author and the John G. Searle Assistant Professor of Environmental Health Sciences, pointed out that this finding is important because females typically have a lower risk of liver cancer. “The distinction was erased in this study, with both males and females showing tumors.” she stated. In 2013, Dolinoy’s lab showed that there is considerable BPA exposure during pregnancy by finding the chemical in human fetal liver tissue.
Male Fetuses Exposed to BPA May Lead to Higher Risk of Prostate Cancer Later in Life
Scientists have also found that BPA exposure during development could increase the likelihood of prostate cancer later on in life. A January 2014 study published in Endocrinology implanted human stem cells from organ donors into mice in order to investigate whether or not cancer develops upon BPA exposure. The mice were fed with BPA “equivalent to levels ingested by the average person” for two weeks after the stem cells were implanted. One month later they were also given estrogen to replicate the natural rise of estrogen levels in men as they age.
After 2-4 months, the researchers found that one third of the BPA-exposed mice developed full prostate cancer or pre-cancerous lesions. In comparison, only about one-tenth of the control group developed any type of cancer or pre-cancerous lesions. Dr. Gail Prins, lead author of the study, said that the study “provides the first direct evidence that exposure to BPA during development, at the levels we see in our day-to-day lives, increases the risk for prostate cancer in human prostate tissue.”
Dr. Prins pointed out that BPAs are very difficult to avoid, stating “Previous studies have shown that people who avoided all contact with plastics or other BPA-containing objects for up to a month or more still had BPA in their urine,” BPA clears the body quickly, so that means that these people must have been exposed in the last day or two, she said.
Prenatal Exposure to BPA Linked to Breast Cancer
Scientists also suspect that BPA exposure may be linked to breast cancer. In a September 2013 report, Tufts University researcher Ana Soto found that BPA was associated with a higher risk of mammary cancer in rats. According to Soto, being exposed to BPA in the womb might make fetuses more sensitive to estrogen, which drives the growth of most breast cancers. Her findings are not the only evidence linking BPA to breast cancer. Previously, two studies using rhesus monkeys found that BPA caused changes in the mammary glands that made the monkeys more vulnerable to breast cancer.
The Breast Cancer Fund has been campaigning against the use of BPA in food products since 2011.
Do You Have Questions about BPA Cancer Lawsuits?
Most Americans have some level of BPA in their bodies, and a growing body of research shows that this common chemical is associated with cancer. Parker Waichman LLP is a national personal injury law firm with years of experience handling environmental/toxic exposure cases. If you have more questions about BPA Cancer lawsuits, please fill out our online form or call us at 1(800)-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529) today.