Bisphenol A and plastic bottles causing cancer: How to avoid it

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NEW YORK CITY, United States – Mt Sinai Medical Center — Many studies confirm a link between plastic bottles and cancer.

Here’s the information on some of the less well known, but likely or suspected environmental carcinogens, and what you can do to lower your exposure to them and reduce your chances of getting cancer.

Bisphenol A and plastic bottles

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a man-made chemical used in the manufacture of certain plastic products.

It’s ubiquitous in the modern world, cropping up in everything from credit cards to car interiors to… baby bottles.

But if BPA enters the human body this otherwise useful chemical has hormonal activity similar to the female hormone oestrogen, and can disturb biological processes at very low concentrations.

Considerable uncertainty remains as to whether exposure levels by the general public are harmful; nonetheless, several recent studies have linked it to harmful effects, especially that BPA may increase the risk for breast cancer.

How are you exposed to it?

If BPA-containing plastics are heated, the BPA can be released. For example, if you pour hot milk into a BPA-containing baby bottle, the BPA can enter the hot milk – and the baby who drinks it.

It’s been found that 55 times more BPA is released from bottles filled with hot water compared to those with cold water.

How to avoid it

Dr Devra Davis, Professor of Preventive Medicine at Mt Sinai Medical Center in New York and author of The Secret History of the War on Cancer, recommends avoiding plastics stamped with the number 7 (contains BPA), as well as 3 and 6 (contains similar chemicals that may be cause for concern).

“It’s the very hard plastic ones you need to beware of – they will say ‘PC’ for ‘polycarbonate’,”says Dr Carl Albrecht, Head of Research at The Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA).

“The softer plastic ones, like those for bottled water, have not been shown to be harmful. But rather don’t reuse them a lot, taking them repeatedly in and out of the fridge.

Still, the main potential danger with that is bacterial contamination.”

As a general rule, rather than getting too worried about whether a bottle contains BPA or not, Albrecht agrees that it’s best to simply avoid heating any plastic bottle.

Use glass instead. You can also boil water or milk in another container and then allow it to cool before pouring it into a plastic bottle.