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Lower Breast and Prostate Cancer Risk? Ask Annie

Submitted by on Friday, 26 March 2010No Comment

plastictrashDear Annie,
My husband and I have had early stage breast and prostate cancer. I’ve been reading about endocrine disrupting chemicals and would like to avoid them, but where do I start? What advice do you have? Thanks, Annie – Kathy, CO

Dear Kathy,
Endocrine disrupting chemicals are materials that mimic natural hormones, tricking the body into thinking it is getting what it needs, but it malfunctions because the chemicals are flawed fakes. They are incredibly insidious in the product world, and are in everything from non-stickware and stain sealants, to nail polish, to packaging plastics, to perfumes. Bisphenol A (BPA) is a big suspected culprit for both breast cancer and prostate problems, so I’d start there. Some quick places to look: polycarbonate plastics (hard plastic, such as those older Nalgene drinking water bottles).

Here is some information from the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences and it elucidates some of the sources in food, which they say is the primary source of exposure:

What is bisphenol A?
Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical produced in large quantities for use primarily in the production of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins.

Where is BPA found?
Polycarbonate plastics have many applications including use in some food and drink packaging, e.g., water and infant bottles, compact discs, impact-resistant safety equipment, and medical devices. Epoxy resins are used as lacquers to coat metal products such as food cans, bottle tops, and water supply pipes. Some dental sealants and composites may also contribute to BPA exposure.

How does BPA get into the body?
The primary source of exposure to BPA for most people is through the diet. While air, dust, and water are other possible sources of exposure, BPA in food and beverages accounts for the majority of daily human exposure.

Bisphenol A can leach into food from the protective internal epoxy resin coatings of canned foods and from consumer products such as polycarbonate tableware, food storage containers, water bottles, and baby bottles. The degree to which BPA leaches from polycarbonate bottles into liquid may depend more on the temperature of the liquid or bottle, than the age of the container. BPA can also be found in breast milk.


Please send your questions to annie [at] greenchicafe [dot] com.

By Annie B. Bond, the best-selling and award-winning author of five healthy/green living books, including Better Basics for the Home (Three Rivers Press, 1999), Home Enlightenment, Clean & Green (1990), and most recently True Food (National Geographic, 2010 and winner of Gourmand Awards Best Health and Nutrition Cookbook in the World). She has authored literally thousands of articles and was named “the foremost expert on green living” by Body & Soul magazine (2009).


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