Health & Medicine

Exposure to BPA Linked to Development of Liver Tumors, Study Claims

Benita Matilda
First Posted: Feb 03, 2014 08:59 AM EST

A latest study links exposure to chemicals found in canned food and plastics to the development of cancer.

In an animal study conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan School of Public Health,  a significant association between exposure to Bisphenol A (BPA) and the development of cancer was observed. The study said that when mice were exposed to the chemical through their mother during the gestation and nursing period they went on to develop liver tumors.

"We found that 27 percent of the mice exposed to one of three different doses of BPA through their mother's diet developed liver tumors and some precancerous lesions. The higher the dosage, the more likely they were to present with tumors," said Caren Weinhouse, U-M doctoral student in the School of Public Health's Department of Environmental Health Sciences.

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The industrial chemical Bisphenol A is used to make plastics and is also used to coat the inner section of some plastic products such as food cans, bottle tops, dental composites and sealants.  This chemical can seep into the food and trigger drastic health hazards when consumed. It affects behavior in children and the brain and prostate glands of the fetus. With the rise in health concerns several companies have banned the use of the chemical. The study reports suggest that nearly 90 percent of the Americans have some percent of the chemical in their bodies.

The 6-week-old female mice were given a diet that had three environmental doses of BPA before mating.  The same was done throughout pregnancy and nursing. Then they followed a male and female from a litter for nearly 10 months. The mothers were exposed to the chemical before conception. The offspring were exposed to the chemical as developing fetuses.

In this current study the researchers gave the mothers the highest dosage of BPA i.e. 50 mg per kg diet. They noticed that the mice born to these mothers were seven times more vulnerable to developing tumors when compared to mothers who were not exposed to BPA.

"This current study showing liver tumors in mice says let's take another look at BPA and cancer in humans," Weinhouse said.

Studies conducted earlier revealed that BOA exposure led to precancerous lesions. But this is the first study that clinically proves that BPA leads to tumors in an organ.  The researchers also discovered that the adult offspring of the mothers exposed to high doses of BPA had an increase in liver tumor.  The tumors developed in the offspring irrespective of the sex.

"In general, females are at lower risk of spontaneous development of liver cancer," said Dana Dolinoy, the John G. Searle Assistant Professor of Environmental Health Sciences and senior/corresponding author of the study. "That distinction was erased in this study, with both males and females showing tumors."

recent study conducted at the Brighman and Women's Hospital revealed that exposure to BPA disrupts the human egg maturation leading to fertility issues.

This study was documented in the Environmental Health Perspective.

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