U.S. Senators today introduced the Safe Chemicals Act, designed to require stricter screening of chemicals to assess their safety before they’re approved for public use. The SCA also would give the EPA more authority to go after chemicals that have been linked to cancer and other health conditions.
Bisphenol A, the controversial component found in plastic baby bottles, took another image hit last week when the Canadian government announced it would be drafting regulations to ban the sale or importing of bottles containing the chemical.
Canadian Minister of Health Tony Clement called the step a milestone for Canada, which he said would be the first country to take regulatory action against the chemical. BPA is commonly found in polycarbonate or clear, hard plastics and can usually be identified by the number seven stamped within the recycling triangle on the bottom of containers.
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.