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BPA exposure programs unborn babies to have breast cancer later in life

Bisphenol A

(NaturalNews) Exposure to a common plastic chemical, bisphenol A (BPA) in the womb could increase the risk of breast cancer in women, reports a new study.

Many states have banned BPA in baby and children products, and various manufacturers have removed the chemical from plastic water bottles and food containers. The hormone disruptor has been linked to numerous health problems, including neurological issues, childhood asthma, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

But why is BPA so damaging to the human body? To better understand how BPA impacts the human body, it helps to have some background knowledge on how the endocrine system ticks. The endocrine system is made of glands, like ovaries, testes and the thyroid, which secrete hormones that are absorbed by the bloodstream. As the hormones make their way through the bloodstream, they bind to receptors which are responsible for a myriad of functions, like mood, energy levels and growth.

BPA embodies a shape similar to the hormone estrogen, which also binds to hormone receptors. The problem is that these receptors already bind to plenty of natural hormones. This can lead to an onslaught of health problems. In fact, research has shown that exposure to even relatively low doses of BPA can damage the endocrine system.

Early exposure to BPA leads to long-term health problems

According to a new culture study that tested the impact that exposure has on the developing mammary gland, BPA directly affects the mammary gland of mice embryos. The results of the study showed that these changes to embryonic mammary tissue occurred when the mice were exposed to doses of BPA comparable to those humans to which are exposed in the environment.

"We believe exposure in the womb to endocrine disruptors such as BPA may be a main factor responsible for the increased incidence of breast cancer in women," said team leader of the study, Lucia Speroni, PhD, a research associate at Tufts University.

"We knew from our previous research that BPA causes changes to breast tissue associated with a higher predisposition to breast cancer later in life," she added in a press statement. "However, until now, we did not know whether this was a direct effect on the fetus or an indirect effect from the mother's exposure."

Growth of mammary gland accelerates when exposed to BPA

The culture method used by the team was ex vivo, meaning the researchers observed the development of the entire mammary gland from outside the organism. The team removed mammary buds – cells that develop into the mammary gland – from 14-day-old mouse embryos. They then placed the buds in culture dishes and watched them grow over the course of five days. As the buds continued to devlop, the team was able to record how the mammary gland burgeons in actual time.

Speroni and her colleagues tested multiple BPA doses and compared the effects with estrogen. The researchers found that BPA accelerated the development of the mouse mammary gland at doses comparable to those found in the environment. A similar effect was seen in a former research project where investigators exposed the mouse fetus to BPA through its mother.

Previous studies have linked BPA exposure before birth to breast cancer. For example, Natural News covered a story in 2011 which found that exposure to BPA before birth changes long-term hormone response in females. Nevertheless, Speroni and her team found that BPA did not have the same impact on the mouse mammary bud as estrogen did, which encumbered the development of the mammary gland. The researchers intend to conduct additional studies that investigate how BPA interferes with mammary gland development.

"We now have a way to test the impact of endocrine-disrupting chemicals on the development of the mouse mammary gland at different doses and obtain results in less than a week," Speroni concluded.

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