September 24, 2018

Early BPA Exposure Increases Prostate Cancer Risk

Food Poisoning Bulletin has been covering the story of bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical used to harden plastics, for years. Health risks associated with this chemical have been well known for some time. In fact, because of consumer pressure, all manufacturers of baby bottles have removed the chemical from their products. The FDA belatedly finalized a rule banning BPA in infant formula packaging last summer.

Powdered Infant FormulaA new study in the Journal of Endocrinology, published today, finds that BPA exposure early in life increase the risk of prostate cancer. Unfortunately, BPA is found “universally” in the umbilical cord blood of pregnant women, according to a study conducted in California last August.

In the latest study, mice were implanted with human prostate stem cells from healthy males. The mice were fed BPA at levels typical for the average pregnant women. The prostate structure matured, and the scientists introduced carcinogens to the prostate cells. The cells that were exposed to BPA were “much more susceptible to hormone-triggered cancer,” according to Dr. Gail Prins from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

One-third of the BPA-exposed tissue had pre-cancerous lesions or full-blown prostate cancer, compared to just 13% in the control group. When the prostate stem cells were exposed to BPA before implantation in the mice as well, the incidence of cancer rose to 45%. Scientists think that BPA is reprogramming the stem cells, making them more susceptible to carcinogens and other agents such as oxidative stress and hormones.

BPA is very ubiquitous in our environment. In fact, our food itself could contain the chemical, since people who make an effort to avoid BPA in packaging have the chemical in their bodies. BPA is classified as an endocrine disruptor, which means it acts as a hormone in the body and interfere with the endocrine system.

 

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