Prenatal BPA Exposure Linked to Breast Cancer

Photo by Aine DBreast cancer linked to prenatal exposure to plastic chemicals

Breast cancer linked to prenatal exposure to plastic chemicals

During both of my pregnancies, I was an avid drinker of pregnancy tea.  This natural herbal concoction is full of essential vitamins and minerals; however, little did I know I was making my tea toxic by drinking it out of a Nalgene bottle.  We (the public) did not know about endocrine disrupting chemicals in plastics, such as bisphenol-A (BPA) back then, but we do now.  A new study has linked prenatal exposure to (BPA) and diethylstilbestrol (DES) to breast cancer.

BPA has been linked to many severe health problems. From heart disease to diabetes, this chemical is still prevalent in may consumer products.  Like any toxic chemical, it is especially concerning in utero.  Medical News Today explains:

In this study, researchers treated pregnant mice with BPA or DES and then looked at the offspring as adults. When the offspring reached adulthood, their mammary glands still produced higher levels of EZH2, a protein that plays a role in the regulation of all genes. Higher EZH2 levels are associated with an increased risk of breast cancer in humans…

Therefore, adult women who were exposed prenatally to BPA or DES could be at increased risk of breast cancer, according to a new study accepted for publication in Hormones & Cancer, a journal of The Endocrine Society.

BPA has been in plastics for over 50 years, so we don’t need to wait until our children grow up to see if these predictions are true.  Consider the following statistics on breast cancer:

  • Breast cancer incidence in women in the United States is 1 in 8 (about 13%).
  • For women in the U.S., breast cancer death rates are higher than those for any other cancer besides lung cancer.
  • Besides skin cancer, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among U.S. women. More than 1 in 4 cancers are breast cancer.

For twenty years, breast cancer rates increased until they leveled off in the late 1990s.  Endocrine disrupting chemicals may not be entirely to blame, but they certainly cannot be ruled out as contributors.  I will not worry about what I exposed my children to prenatally, as I cannot undue the past.  All I can do is protect my family with the knowledge I have now and avoid all products that contain BPA.

Comments

  1. Great post Jennifer! The more information we can get out there about the harmful effects of BPA, the better. There is no good reason not to limit our exposure to BPA, especially for our children.

  2. Janelle says:

    Right on Jennifer! How do you feel about receipts containing BPA? I often decline them, but feel bad for the cashiers touching them all day long.

  3. Janelle, I didn’t know BPA was on receipts too…geez, it is so prevalent! I don’t know why they need to plastic coat receipts anyways.

  4. Janelle says:

    I don’t know exactly why it’s in receipts, but Frederick Vom Saal (one of the lead researchers of BPA) is concerned about dermal exposure because that’s how we administer the nicotine patch, birth control, etc. Here are some other unexpected places you’ll find BPA:

    http://healthychild.org/blog/comments/some_unpleasant_sources_of_bpa_paper_products/

    and how to avoid the sneakiest sources:

    http://healthychild.org/blog/comments/how_to_avoid_the_sneakiest_sources_of_bpa

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