In recent years, more and more people have become more conscious about the foods they eat. Everyone expects their food to be healthy and safe for themselves and their families. Unfortunately, food packaging may be harboring hidden chemicals that many would like to avoid. One of the most well-known is the toxic chemical known as bisphenol A (BPA). This chemical is found almost everywhere, especially in common household products like water bottles and tin cans. A new report released by the Breast Cancer Fund found that 67% of nearly 200 food cans samples tested positive for BPA, a well-known hormone disruptor. Hormone disruptors are chemicals that, at certain doses, can interfere with the hormone system in mammals. These disruptions can cause certain tumors, birth defects and, other developmental disorders.
Why is this an eye-opening discovery? The Federal Drug Administration claims that low levels of BPA are safe, and well below what it takes to cause breast cancer in lab animals. However, its potential health effects were not found until recently, when researchers investigated the case of Canadian women who worked in factories that produced plastics for cars (See ref. below). When thoroughly researched, these women were found to have a five times higher chance of developing premenopausal breast cancer when compared to the control group. This risk is the equivalent of carrying a BRCA gene mutation, which is responsible for many cases of breast cancer.
The Federal Drug Administration may argue that this study can’t apply to the general public because levels of exposure to factory workers are so much higher than people in the general environment. While that may be the case, this study clearly shows a correlation between BPA and risk of developing breast cancer.
While the Canadian study showed a strong correlation between high levels of BPA and the development of breast cancer, it left one question unanswered: What effect would high BPA levels have the factory workers’ daughters?
While there was no way to test this directly, there have been other promising studies done to see if BPA had effects on fetuses. Some of these studies looked closely at the potential risks of BPA by exposing pregnant lab animals to what the FDA would consider a “safe level” of BPA. These studies showed that even low levels of exposure during early fetal development correlate with cellular changes that predispose the fetus to an increased chance of breast cancer.
Despite the results of these studies, we can’t know for sure if BPA exposure in predisposition to breast cancer. Even so, the concern is there, and many people are calling for a change in food and water packaging to reduce the risk of exposure. Several brands have already eliminated the use of BPA in their products, while others have yet to do so. Only through careful research and action can we take steps to eliminate BPA from our food and water.
R E F E R E N C E S:
- Breast Cancer Fund: http://www.breastcancerfund.org/?referrer=https://www.google.com/
- Canadian Auto Workers: https://www.publicintegrity.org/2012/11/19/11806/study- spotlights-high-breast-cancer-risk-plastics-workers