By Kelly Rondeau
Green Right Now
It’s the holiday season, and along with the many joys that are associated with this fun time of year – cooking, baking, parties with friends and family – comes a lurking environmental problem: Toxic chemicals in everyday plastics. Plastics that seem to be everywhere in our holiday midst — in the packaging of toys, the toys themselves, our food packaging, in our holiday leftover storage containers, in plastic wrap, in water bottles — and the list goes on.
Many valid health concerns have been raised about poisonous chemicals present in our everyday plastics, and the headlines about these toxins leaching into our food are frightening. A recent Milwaukee Journal Sentinel investigation found, for instance, that food containers labeled as “microwave safe” leached BPA when heated. (See our report, “BPA turns up in ‘microwave safe’ products“.)
By Barbara Kessler
The news on bisphenol A or BPA just doesn’t get better. The chemical, used to make plastic baby bottles and food can liners, could deliver a double-whammy to women, paving the way for breast cancer, and then boomeranging back to interfere with the treatment for cancer recovery.
A study by University of Cincinnati scientists released this week found that BPA exposure may reduce the effectiveness of chemotherapy treatments for breast cancer patients.
Researchers found that this man-made chemical – already implicated as a potential trigger in breast cancer because it is structurally similar to the estrogenic DES – induced a group of proteins in the body to protect breast cancer cells from the chemotherapy.
Resistance to chemotherapy is already a “major problem for cancer patients, especially those with advanced metastatic disease,” said UC’s Nira Ben-Jonathan, a professor of cell biology who’s been studying BPA for more than a decade.