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Fetal Exposure to BPA Linked to Prostate Cancer

Fetal Exposure to BPA Linked to Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths among men in the United States. According to the National Cancer Institute, 15 percent of U.S. men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in their lives. A new study published in January 2014 attempts to pinpoint why these numbers are so high and they have come up with this explanation: Early fetal exposure to low levels of bisphenol A (BPA) may make men more susceptible to prostate cancer later in life.

BPA is known to be a gender-bending endocrine disrupter that acts as an estrogen. It is used to make polycarbonate plastics and can be found in aluminum beverage cans, most food cans, infant formula that comes in cans, dental sealants, paper receipts, and epoxy-lined beer cans. An estimated 90+ percent of Americans carry traces of BPA in their bodies, so that there is almost “universal fetal exposure” to BPA.

In searching for a connection between fetal BPA exposure and future prostate cancer, researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago implanted stem cells from deceased young men into lab mice. Environmental Health News reports:

“When the mice were fed BPA by mouth for the first two weeks of life, 33 percent of the stem cells had cancerous or precancerous lesions later in life. Forty-five percent of the cells that were exposed to BPA before and after mice implantation developed precancerous or cancerous lesions later. In comparison, only 12 percent of the mice not exposed to BPA during development had cancer or precancerous lesions later in life.”

The researchers propose that early exposure to BPA, an estrogenic compound, permanently reprograms a fetus’ stem cells. Those stem cells are then used to replenish organs throughout the course of a person’s life, and if those stem cells are extra-sensitive to estrogen as a result of early exposure, they will pass on that sensitivity to the prostate tissues later in life. It’s already known that men’s rising levels of estrogen, which happens naturally as they age, are partly responsible for causing prostate cancer.

While this study cannot replicate human physiology perfectly, it is still considered to be “some of the strongest and most convincing evidence to date linking early life BPA exposure and cancer,” according to Heather Patisaul from the University of North Carolina. It’s an excellent study because it looks at the effect of stem cells in a whole animal, not just a dish.

Article by Katherine Martinko

Photo: CC BY 2.0 Matt Preston

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Kara, selected from TreeHugger

Planet Green is the multi-platform media destination devoted to the environment and dedicated to helping people understand how humans impact the planet and how to live a more environmentally sustainable lifestyle. Its two robust websites, planetgreen.com and TreeHugger.com, offer original, inspiring, and entertaining content related to how we can evolve to live a better, brighter future. Planet Green is a division of Discovery Communications.

75 comments

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7:31AM PDT on Apr 13, 2014

Ta

10:53PM PDT on Apr 12, 2014

Geezus - this is really shocking Cripes.

3:41AM PDT on Apr 9, 2014

Noted

2:32AM PDT on Mar 13, 2014

Thank you :)

2:38PM PST on Mar 5, 2014

I clicked on the link for the study, and it has not been peer reviewed, or published yet. It is stamped "Draft". While I'm not saying that this negates the BPA-cancer link result, I *am* saying that to not mention that the study hasn't been replicated or verified by an independent scientific source shows a lack of concern for good science in the article. And that hurts us all in the pursuit of holding corporations accountable and being taken seriously in the wider public forum.

I have been avoiding BPA for years - there are many peer-reviewed studies out in the world that show the harm BPA does, most notably, it is a hormone disruptor. The time - if there ever was one - when you could rely on a company to put your health first is loooong past! You have to do your own work around this stuff, and do your bit to spread the word. If you haven't got the time or energy to do the work, then just consume & buy things that were available to your great-grandparents: organic, local food in season; glass jars not tins; vinegar & baking soda & citrus peel not harsh household chemicals, etc. And wash your hands every time you enter the house, before preparing food, before every meal, and anytime after you've touched something questionable, like a grocery store receipts (coated with BPA)!

2:06PM PST on Mar 5, 2014

arigato

8:31AM PST on Mar 5, 2014

Thank you.

3:59AM PST on Mar 5, 2014

Thank you

12:21AM PST on Mar 5, 2014

Thanks for sharing

11:36PM PST on Mar 4, 2014

Humans have to be the stupidest animals on this planet, we will wipe ourselves out and everything else by our creations and we wont learn till its till late.

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