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Cancer-Linked BPA's: Paper Receits, Plastics and Cans

  • Date: 2015/06/03 (Rev. 2017/05/10)
  • Thomas C. Weiss - Disabled World
  • Synopsis : Recent research suggests a certain level of exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) chemicals found in plastics may cause cancer.

Main Document

Depending on where a person lives and works, they are likely to be exposed to a number of plastic products each day. Beverage and food containers, toiletry bottles and some disposable plates are made from plastic and all are made from chemicals. Research suggests that all plastics might leach chemicals if they are heated or scratched. Research also strongly suggests that at a certain level of exposure, some of the chemicals in these products such as, 'bisphenol A (BPA),' might cause cancer. BPA is a weak synthetic estrogen found in:

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a carbon-based synthetic compound with the chemical formula (CH3)2C(C6H4OH)2 belonging to the group of diphenylmethane derivatives and bisphenols, with two hydroxyphenyl groups. BPA is employed to make certain plastics and epoxy resins. BPA-based plastic is clear and tough, and is made into a variety of common consumer goods, such as water bottles, sports equipment, CDs, and DVDs. Epoxy resins containing BPA are used to line water pipes, as coatings on the inside of many food and beverage cans and in making thermal paper such as that used in sales receipts.

Its estrogen-like activities makes it a hormone disruptor, as with a number of other chemicals in plastics. Hormone disruptors may affect how estrogen and other hormones behave in a person's body, by blocking or mimicking them; something that throws off the body's hormonal balance. Due to the fact that estrogen can make hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer develop and grow, a number of women choose to limit their exposure to these particular chemicals which may act like estrogen.

BPA also appears to affect the development of a person's brain while they are in the womb. A study from 2011 found that pregnant women with high levels of BPA in their urine were more likely to have daughters who presented with signs of depression, hyperactivity, as well as anxiety. The symptoms were found in girls as young as three years of age. It remains unclear why boys are not affected in the same way.

Avoiding BPA and Chemical Exposure

While it is likely impossible to completely avoid every single plastic product, try to use as little plastic as you can. If you are pregnant this is especially true. Never use plastic around food. In order to reduce your exposure to BPA and other chemicals:

  • Baby Bottles: Use baby bottles with labels that read, 'BPA free.'
  • Water Bottles: Carry your own steel, ceramic, or glass water bottle to fill with water.
  • Canned Food: Cut back on how much canned food you consume and how much canned formula your baby consumes.
  • Examine the Number: Look closely at plastics with a number seven recycling symbol on the bottom of them. If the plastic does not also say, 'PLA,' or have a leaf symbol, it might contain BPA.
  • Store Receipts: Avoid handling carbon-less copy cash register receipts. If you receive a carbon-less receipt, do not recycle it. Recycling of receipts with BPA in them may spread the BPA to additional products made with recycled paper, to include toilet paper and napkins.

Avoiding Exposure to Additional Chemicals in Plastics

Awareness and the use of containers that are not plastic can help you to avoid exposure to additional chemicals in plastics. To reduce your level of exposure to other chemicals in plastics:

  • Cooking Food: Do not cook food in plastic containers, or use steaming/roasting bags. The plastic residues might leach into your food when you heat it in either a microwave or regular oven.
  • Pots, Pans and Containers: Use porcelain, glass, stainless steel, or enamel-covered metal pans, pots and containers for your food and beverages when you can, particularly if the food or drink is hot.
  • Take Time to View the Number: Plastics with recycling symbols two, four and five are commonly considered to be alright to use. Plastics with recycling symbol seven are ok as well - as long as they also say, 'PLA,' or have a leaf symbol on them. The recycling symbol number is the code that shows what type of plastic was used in order to make the product.
  • Plastics with recycling symbol one are also alright to use, although they should not be used more than a single time. Keep all plastic containers out of the sunshine and heat.

Prostate Cancer and BPA's

Low level exposure to bisphenol A during development might make men more susceptible to prostate cancer later on in life according to one study. The study, which uses a new model of implanting human stem cells into mice, is the first to link early-life BPA exposure to prostate cancer. It adds to a growing body of research that suggests exposure to even low levels of BPA alters cells and may lead to diseases later in a person's life.

Heather Patisaul, a researcher from North Carolina State University stated, "Overall I think this is some of the strongest and most convincing evidence to date linking early-life BPA exposure and cancer. They were careful to make the exposures human relevant, used cells derived from healthy humans and replicated physiological conditions seen in aging men."

Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death in American men. Approximately 15% of men will face a diagnosis of prostate cancer in their lifetime. Greater than 90% of all Americans have traces of BPA in their bodies. Previous studies suggest there is universal exposure to children in the womb.

List of Types of Cancer and Tumors - Disabled World - (2014-12-30)

Learn More

  • Campbell's Soup and BPA - bcaction.org/2012/03/12/update-re-campbells-soup-and-bpa/
  • Cancer-linked BPA in Store Receipts - healthiertalk.com/cancer-linked-bpa-store-receipts-2375
  • BPA linked to breast cancer tumor growth - www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140306163359.htm

Quick Facts:

  • BPA exhibits hormone-like properties that raise concern about its suitability in some consumer products and food containers.
  • A 2010 report from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) identified possible hazards to fetuses, infants, and young children.
  • Plastic packaging is split into seven broad classes for recycling purposes by a Plastic identification code. As of 2014 there are no BPA labeling requirements for plastics in the US. In general, plastics that are marked with Resin Identification Codes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 are very unlikely to contain BPA. Some, but not all, plastics that are marked with the Resin Identification Code 7 may be made with BPA.
  • The major human exposure route to BPA is diet, including ingestion of contaminated food and water.
  • A 2009 Health Canada study found that the majority of canned soft drinks it tested had low, but measurable levels of bisphenol A.
  • One often overlooked source of exposure occurs when a pregnant woman is exposed, thereby exposing the fetus.


World production capacity of BPA compound was 1 million tons in the 1980s, and more than 2.2 million tons in 2009. In 2003, U.S. consumption was 856,000 tons, 72% of which used to make polycarbonate plastic and 21% going into epoxy resins.[9] In the U.S., less than 5% of the BPA produced is used in food contact applications, but remains in the canned food industry and printing applications such as sales receipts.

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