Cancer link prompts new call for bisphenol A ban

By Rory Harrington

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Cancer

A UK scientist has called for the banning of bisphenol A after claiming new research has shown “growing evidence” that the chemical is a human carcinogen.

Professor Ana Soto, from the University of Ulster, said the substance should be outlawed after examining the role foetal exposure to BPA has played in the development of mammary cancer in rats and humans in later life.

The study, conducted with Professor Carlos Sonnenschein from Tufts University, Boston, USA, shows foetal and neonatal exposure to the chemical increases the likelihood of development of malignant tumours later in life, said the academic who is Professor of Cancer Development at Ulster and a professor of Cell Biology at Tufts.

Man-made hormones

The scientists evaluated the effects of human exposure to diethylstilboestrol (DES) and compared them to those of BPA. This was done as both are man-made hormones known as xeno-oestrogens.

Professor Soto said exposure (DES), which was once used to prevent miscarriage, increased breast cancer risk of women exposed during foetal life – an effect that was also observed in foetally-exposed rats.

“There are clear parallels in the studies that we have undertaken that a link exists between foetal exposure to BPA and occurrence of mammary cancer in rats”,​ she said. “DES exposure also resulted in increased risk of mammary cancer in rats. Epidemiological evidence has revealed an increased incidence of breast cancer in women exposed to diethylstilboestrol when in the womb; hence, there is no reason to think that BPA would not cause a similar outcome in humans.”

Increasing concerns

The professor has now called for the chemical, used in the manufacture of polycarbonate plastics such as baby bottles and the epoxy lining of food cans, to be banned.

“I would call for a banning of the use of BPA giving the growing evidence and increasing concerns that research has shown,”​ she said. “The foetal and neonatal life are crucial for a child’s development and parents should consider the advantage of using BPA-free products.”

Authorities in Denmark, Canada and France have already banned BPA in food contact materials for children aged three and under. The European Food Standards Agency and the US Food and Drugs Administration have said the substance poses no risk to humans but are both currently reviewing their positions in the light of growing public anxiety and wealth of new evidence emerging on the chemical.

Related topics Food safety & quality

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