Worrisome isn’t it? But a study by researchers at the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute, in collaboration with the Stanford Genome Technology Center have shown that a common organic compound in many household products may pose a health risk to breast cells.
Bisphenol A, a chemical that leaches (leaks) into food and beverages from many consumer products, causes normal, non-cancerous human breast cells to express genes characteristic of aggressive breast cancer cells.
What is Bishphenol A?
It is an organic compound that has many uses, the most common is being a component of plastic that is used is many common household products like plastic water bottles, plastic baby bottles, the lining in food cans, as well as in sealants used by dentists to protect teeth, as enumerated by the linked story from Science Daily.
William Goodson, M.D., Senior Clinical Research Scientist at the Institute and lead researcher on the study, was quoted as saying:
“This is a very common compound that most of us are exposed to on a regular basis, often without even being aware of it. If it’s true that exposure to BPA can cause normal, non-cancerous human breast cells to behave in ways that are more characteristic of aggressive breast cancer cells, this is very worrying.”
What is the deal with BPA?
In the studies conducted by Dr. Goodson’s team, the normal human breast cells exposed to bishpehnol A (BPA) have shown to:
- increase the sets of genes that promote cell division
- increase cell metabolism
- increase resistance to drugs that usually kill cancer cells
- prevent cells from developing to their normal mature forms
Aside from these new findings, BPA has had a controversial history of causing possible harmful health effects like hormonal disruptions because it mimics estrogen.
We’ve been so used to BPA
Since BPA is a common compound found in many household products, we’ve been exposed to it ever since. Especially now that plastic bottles, packaging and wrappings are almost the de facto packaging item for almost anything we drink or eat, it will be quite difficult to stay free from being exposed to BPA. Just count how many times you drink your favorite soda pop or juice drink that comes in plastic bottles in a single day, because even though it’s present in very small amounts, they all pile up through the years.
Though it’s not proven that BPA causes cancer or malignancy because of its gene altering effects, researchers say that more studies should be undertaken.
In the mean while and after reading this, I’m sure most would now have something to think about the next time we pick up a bottle of water or soda pop.