Bisphenol A (BPA), an artificial estrogenic compound widely used in plastics for food containers, may increase the adult breast cancer risk of female fetuses. This confirms earlier findings regarding a link between BPA and breast cancer.
A study exposed pregnant rats to bisphenol A at a range of doses from 2.5 to 1,000 micrograms per kg of body weight per day.
Their female children developed precancerous breast lesions during puberty at a rate three to four times higher than usual. BPA resulted in an increased level of lesions at all dose levels, which suggests that the current exposure limit set by the U.S. EPA (50 micrograms per kg per day) has put American women at risk of breast cancer.
BPA is used in the manufacture of polycarbonate plastics for many food and beverage containers, including baby bottles and canned food linings. Dental composites can also contain the chemical. Urine analysis has shown that 95 percent of people have been exposed to BPA. BPA has also been linked to prostate cancer and brain tissue damage, even at extremely low levels.
Cheaper, "convenient" products made from polycarbonate plastics can expose your body to all sorts of toxins -- like bisphenol A (BPA) -- it was never meant to handle. Just 0.23 parts per billion of BPA is enough to disrupt the effect of estrogen in a baby's developing brain.
BPA is an endocrine disruptor, and may also be in part responsible for the recent cases of puberty being reported among preschool children.
Although it may be nearly impossible to completely avoid all toxins, there are many common sense steps you can take today to reduce your exposure to them, which include:
My first choice for water containers is glass, and I only use plastic bottles when I travel. I used to use colored high-density Nalgene bottles, but not since the Bisphenol A in the bottles was shown to cause birth defects and miscarriages in animal studies.
Plastics that are safer to use for storing food and beverages, none of which are known to leach harmful substances, include:
Now I use the wide-mouth Nalgene bottles that are made from the safe plastic. I found them at http://www.campmor.com/ and have purchased a dozen so I don't have to worry about replacing them when they invariably get lost or left behind on my many trips.
The wide mouth also allows them to be easily cleaned so they don't accumulate bacteria. I bring my water to my office with me in a glass container, as that is better. It is just difficult to travel with glass due to the obvious safety reasons.
On Vital Votes, reader Kelli from