There’s been plenty of questioning reports in the media about the health hazards of bisphenol A or BPA plastic used for drinking bottles and in the lining of food cans. A new study suggests one more snag in the man-made material: It might block the effectiveness of chemotherapy treatments for cancer patients.
The research, published in the most recent issue of the medical journal Environmental Health Perspectives, adds to the high suspicion that BPA is already involved in cancer developing in the body. BPA is documented as similar in chemical structure to the cancer-promoting agent diethystilbesytrol or DES.
Short science lesson: DES causes cancer cells to multiply, while it appears that BPA acts to protect existing cancer cells from damage in a sort of same-chemical-family way. In the case of chemotherapy, the BPA calls for additional proteins that in turn neutralize chemotherapy medications. University of Cincinnati researchers discovered this dastardly symbiosis in lab tests.
"These data highlight a previously unrecognized function of bisphenol A," writes Dr. Nira Ben-Jonathan, lead author, "thereby adding a strong support to the growing recognition of the adverse effects of bisphenol A on human health."
Frankly, that’s enough for Alternative Health Blog. Say no to BPA water bottles or baby bottles whenever possible. That’s mean replacing No. 7 plastic bottles (you can look at the bottom of the bottles to see a number, which is inside three arrows forming a triangle). If you have a Nalgene bottle and insist on still using it, at least handwash it and avoid the dishwasher. The heat of a dishwasher can degrade the plastic and make the BPA more bio-accessible to the body. Also, if your No. 7 container is scuffed or otherwise showing signs of age, don’t use it any longer.
If that sounds a bit scary, well, that’s not exactly unintended. Why find out in five years or fifteen that BPA was a 21st century version of playing with matches or smoking cigarettes or both?
Figuring out the safest plastics to use is literally a numbers game. If you bottle or container is No. 2 high density polyethylene (HDPE), No. 4 low density polyethylene (LDPE) or No. 5 polypropylene (PP), you are relatively protected and doing the best thing for yourself and loved ones.
If you are traveling and must buy a No. 1 plastic bottle for drinking water, it is recommended strictly for one-time use. Invest a bit of money is a safe and reusable bottle that you can refill at home. You will be spending money on a significantly more worry-free future.
Bob Condor blogs for Alternative Health Journal every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.