Can BPA Increase Breast Cancer Risk?

by Natalie on August 22, 2012

Bisphenol A, or “BPA” is a chemical used in the plastic and canning industry. It is used in the creation of plastics, and in the liners of cans.

Containers made with BPA are often used to store foods and drinks. BPA leaches into foods and liquids from any container made with it.

BPA is one of the highest production synthetic chemicals worldwide. A study done by the CDC revealed that 93% of Americans have BPA in their urine.

BPA exposure has been linked to a variety of health issues including breast cancer. Several studies have shown that increased intake of BPA is associated with increased breast cancer risk.

BPA is known as a “xenoestrogen” – a synthetic compound that mimics the action of estrogen. Researchers believe this is why BPA increases breast cancer risk. Besides disrupting normal estrogen levels, BPA has also been shown to change the way breast cells function – another reason why it can affect breast cancer risk.

Much of the story between BPA and breast cancer remains a mystery. We know that increased exposure leads to increased risk, but we still don’t know exactly what levels cause this risk.

For now, your best bet is to avoid BPA exposure as much as possible. The FDA is concerned about BPA exposure and is working to find alternatives. This could take many, many years so we need to make reducing BPA exposure a personal priority.

Reduce your BPA Exposure in 5 Steps

  1. Eat less canned food, or if possible find cans made without BPA. Eden Foods is one company I know of that does not use BPA in their cans.
  2. Check your plastics. Containers made with BPA usually have the numbers 7 or 3, or the letters “PC” on the bottom. Plastics that are very hard and clear might contain BPA. Safer plastics are those with the numbers 1, 2, 4, 5, 6.
  3. Don’t microwave your food in plastic containers. Store and reheat food in glass containers.
  4. Use a stainless steel water bottle or other BPA-free water bottle.
  5. Reduce your intake of packaged/processed food.
Even following a whole food diet, I find it difficult to avoid cans completely. I still used canned vegetables occasionally – mostly beans and artichokes – but I try to avoid them as much as possible. Better alternatives to canned produce is fresh or frozen. Produce packed in glass jars or those small cardboard-like boxes are also better options.

Question(s) for you: Did you know about the connection between BPA and breast cancer? Have you already taken steps to reduce your BPA exposure? Do you find it hard to avoid cans? Leave your thoughts in the comment box below!

All my best,

photo by: klearchos via Flickr

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