More Concern Over BPA, Link To Breast Cancer


USA Today sounds the latest warning on BPA, or bisphenol A, in a report on growing concerns that the industrial chemical and synthetic estrogen (which is still used as a lining in many canned goods as well as in plastics and other common products) may be linked to breast cancer.

The news report cites a just-released study by advocates at the Breast Cancer Foundation that focuses on the potential dangers of prenatal exposure. According to the report:

Prenatal exposure to this toxic endocrine-disrupting chemical is of even greater concern than childhood exposure.

During the prenatal period, the foundation is set for how the body’s systems develop, and animal and human studies show us that fetal exposure to BPA can set the stage for later-life diseases, including breast cancer.

To understand the mechanism at work, reporter Liz Szabo quotes Tufts biologist Dr. Ana Soto, who published a paper last month that found BPA increased the risk of mammary cancers in rats:

In two studies of rhesus monkeys published last year, other researchers found that BPA disrupted egg development, damaged chromosomes and caused changes in the mammary gland that made animals more susceptible to cancer.

Soto says it’s possible that prenatal BPA exposure makes fetuses more sensitive to estrogen, a hormone that drives the growth of most breast cancers. In that way, BPA could indirectly increase the risk of breast cancer later in life. Continue reading

Daily Rounds: ADHD Nears 10%; Being A ‘Best Doc’; Medicaid Managed Care; WHO on BPA; FSA’s Get Less Flexible

Medical News: ADHD Rates Are Increasing – in Pediatrics, ADHD/ADD from MedPage Today “The percentage of children and teens ages 4 to 17 with a parent-reported ADHD diagnosis increased from 7.8% in 2003 to 9.5% in 2007, researchers from the agency’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities and from the National Center for Health Statistics reported in the Nov. 12 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.” (medpagetoday.com)

Best Doc in a magazine, the inside story” It’s hard to judge doctors. Even good doctors get sued, and have medical board complaints against them. I have a lot of patients who love me. And some who hate me and think I’m incompetent. You can’t predict the vagaries of human chemistry.” (Kevin, M.D.)

Medicaid managed care programs grow; so do issues – USATODAY.com “Medicaid health plans without exception are seeing reform as a tremendous business opportunity, and they are preparing for the expansion as a chance to grow and expand,” says Vernon Smith, a principal at consulting firm Health Management Associates. But the coming boom is sparking debate about whether Medicaid managed care is best for patients. In traditional fee-for-service Medicaid, enrollees can go to any doctor willing to participate, although finding a specialist can be a challenge in some areas. In managed care, enrollees must see providers in their plans’ networks.” (USA Today)

bisphenol A restrictions premature, said WHO – latimes.com “An expert panel convened last week by the World Health Organization recommended that public health officials hold off on regulations limiting or banning the use of bisphenol A.” (Los Angeles Times)

Flexible Spending Accounts Get Less Flexible : NPR“If you’re one of the 20 million or so Americans with a flexible spending account for health care, get ready for some changes. Paul Sakuma/AP Tylenol drugs on display at Costco in Mountain View, Calif. To get reimbursed for these over-the-counter drugs by flexible spending accounts, consumers will need a prescription. Starting Jan. 1, you’ll no longer be able to set aside pretax dollars in that account to use for medicines bought without a doctor’s prescription.” (npr.org)

BPA Linked To DNA Damage In Sperm

Researchers found evidence linking the chemical BPA to sperm damage

In what is being called “the first piece of epidemiologic evidence” that links the ubiquitous bisphenol A (BPA) to problems in human semen, Nature online reports on a study that finds exposure to the chemical (widely used in plastic bottles and other products) causes DNA damage in sperm.

De-Kun Li, an epidemiologist at Kaiser Permanente’s Division of Research in Oakland, California, says that while his new work may not provide enough evidence to ban BPA, consumers should now consider taking steps to limit their exposure.

Earlier this year, another team found a “preliminary association” between BPA and DNA damage in sperm, adding to previous evidence from animal studies that linked the chemical to fertility problems.

Writing in Fertility and Sterility, Li’s team say they have now obtained “the first piece of epidemiologic evidence” showing BPA impacts on human semen quality. Their study of 514 factory workers in China found that those with a detectable level of the chemical in their urine had an increased risk of lower semen quality than their non-exposed contemporaries.

“When you see this kind of association with semen you have to wonder what else BPA has an effect on,” says Li. As a precautionary principle, he adds, “Everybody should avoid BPA as much as you can.”