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Bisphenol A may boost breast cancer risk

By David Liu, PHD

Women are more likely than men to drink bottled water.  A new study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences suggests prenatal exposure to bisphenol A or BPA, a compound that is commonly used to make nice and transparent water bottles, may increase risk for breast cancer risk.

BPA is widely used in baby bottles and water bottles. The chemical is also used to manufacture polycarbonate plastic, which gives the product a transparent look and is almost shatter proof; it’s used in the manufacture of sports equipment, medical devices, CDs and other household electronics.  It also found in an epoxy resin that is used to coat the inside of nearly all food and beverage cans.

In the study, one group of pregnant rhesus macaques were fed fruit with BPA added until their blood levels reached those commonly seen in humans. Another group were fed fruit without BPA added.

After birth, researchers compared mammary glands in baby monkeys exposed to BPA and those unexposed  for the density of the mammary tissues. They found those exposed to BPA had denser mammary tissues, which in humans means that those exposed to BPA are at high risk for breast cancer.

The Food and Drug Administration rejected a citizen's petition to ban bisphenol A in materials used for food packaging and other consumer goods because it believes that evidence is not sufficient enough to justify such as ban.