New research suggests that exposure to bisphenol A (BPA), which is a chemical used in many plastic consumer products, may increase the risk of breast cancer.
In a study published this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers investigating fetal exposure to BPA in rhesus monkeys, found that female offspring had glandular changes that are often a risk factor in breast cancer.
Among the female monkeys who were exposed to BPA while they were in the womb, mammary glands had significantly increased density and were also significantly more developed, suggesting that BPA was working as an endocrine disruptor as well.
BPA was originally developed as an artificial form of estrogen, a female hormone. The chemical is used to make many plastic products hard and shatterproof, such as bottles, cans, cups, baby bottles and other food containers.
Exposure to BPA is suspected of causing hormonal changes by impacting the human endocrine system. It has previously been linked to cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity and asthma. Some research has suggested that BPA can cause developmental abnormalities and other problems over time in infants and young children.
In March, the FDA determined there was not enough data for the agency to change current regulations that continue to allow the use of BPA in food packaging, denying a petition to ban BPA, which was filed by the National Resource Defense Council (NRDC) in 2008.
More than a dozen class action lawsuits over BPA have failed since 2008, with most ending in dismissal primarily due to a lack of evidence.