BPA Exposure Linked to Brain Tumors

BPA Exposure Linked to Brain Tumors

Written by Alex Reid
Posted July 2, 2012

For years now conflicting reports have been published concerning the chemical Bisphenol A (BPA) and whether or not it is actually dangerous.

BPA, an estrogen-mimicking chemical, has been linked to cancer, obesity, sexual dysfunction and heart disease.

Found in many consumer products, it seeps through the linings of canned products, plastic food containers, dental sealants, and paper receipts.

It has been found to be most harmful to pregnant women and children and has been banned from children’s products in California, China, Canada, and the European Union.

Despite these reports, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not banned BPA from products nationwide.

As recently as March, the FDA rejected a ban on all packaging, as it did not provide enough data to support a rule change, according to Bloomberg News.

However a newly published study from China may just be the added data needed to sway the FDA.

According to the study, BPA is now linked to a common type of brain tumor called a meningioma.

A meningioma develops in the meninges, the membrane that surrounds the brain and spinal cord.  While 90 percent of diagnosed meningiomas are benign, they can still cause illness and death as they grow, pressing against the brain and spinal cord.

Researchers followed 247 patients with the brain cancer and 258 patients with no history of cancer, measuring BPA concentrations through urine samples.

They found those with the highest urine BPA levels were about 1.6 times more likely to be diagnosed with meningioma compared to those with lower concentrations.

Several factors potentially associated with meningioma — age, gender, race, BMI, family history of cancer, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) use — were also considered in the analysis.

These results support previous studies that found personal factors like gender, BMI and use of HRT influence the risk of the disease, but when considering the link with BPA, the personal factors did not alter the results.

Although the study did have its limitations:

For one, researchers measured only one urine sample to establish exposure to BPA but a one-time, current sample is a fairly weak indicator of the long-term exposure presumably required to cause or promote tumors. In part, this is because BPA exposure varies greatly from day to day.

Additionally, while one previous study suggests that BPA might linger in the body and not be rapidly eliminated, the prevailing view is that BPA is rapidly cleared and excreted. If the latter is true, then using one urine sample to assess long-term exposure is a particular concern for a disease like meningioma, which can take years to develop.

Despite these limitations, the authors suggested that until more in-depth research addresses them, “clinicians and patients should be aware of the risk of those products that contain BPA.”

Be sure to look for the "BPA-Free" labels on any consumer products listed above.


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