Disrupted Development: The Dangers Of Prenatal BPA Exposure

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Critique of Disrupted Development: The Dangers of Prenatal BPA Exposure
Jennifer Hoang

According to Jeanne Rizzo, president and CEO of the Breast Cancer Fund, future mothers may be putting their babies at risk for diseases such as breast and prostate cancer, metabolic changes, decreased fertility, early puberty, neurological problems and immunological changes. This is all due to the toxic chemical, bisphenol A, also known as BPA. BPA is a component of polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resin. It is usually found in the lining of canned foods, baby bottles, dental and medical supplies and other plastic containers. Once the BPA is drawn into our food, it can become potentially harmful towards our health, especially for expecting mothers. Exposing BPA during pregnancy is akin to “setting the stage for diseases like breast cancer before the baby is even born”. Not only could it affect the mother but it can negatively affect the fetus. As a result, The Breast Cancer Fund is advocating for all major canned-food manufacturers to use an alternative material to line their food cans. In the U.S, canned foods are widely used in the kitchen; whether it be for a side of vegetables, fruit or soup, they can be essential to every meal. However, as essential as they may be, the BPA lining on them can present many risks towards prenatal development. The exposure of BPA to a fetus can be harmful especially during a sensitive period where the fetus is vulnerable to external influences. As stated in the article by Rizzo, “the cell damage from BPA exposure can lead to a higher risk of cancer later in the life”. In the Soto, Vanderberg, Maffini and Sonnenschein (2007) study on BPA exposure and how it can predispose babies to cancer later in life, they found parameters that associate human beings with an increased risk for developing breast cancer. The researcher used rat models for this particular study because the disease in rat models is more similar to the human disease than in mouse models. When the fetuses were exposed to BPA, the number of pre-neoplastic lesions increased. In those lesions contained an increase amount of estrogen receptor-positive cells. Those specific cells are usually associated with mammary carcinomas. As a result of the study, they concluded that exposure to BPA in utero can produce adverse outcomes on the development of the mammary gland of the fetus and can lead to breast cancer later in life. Akin to the previous study, Lozada & Keri (2011) conducted a study in which they studied how BPA exposure can impact the fetal programming of the mammary tumor susceptibility. In addition, they studied how the toxic chemical exposure can promote tumor growth effects of transformed breast cancer cells in vivo. Unlike the previous study, Lozada & Keri used fetal mice instead of fetal rats for their study. When the researchers examined the effect of BPA exposure on the mammary glands during prenatal development, they found that there was no difference. The average duct length to those who were and were not exposed to BPA did not differ. When examining the tumor susceptibility, the researchers found that there was a significant increase in susceptibility to tumor formation. Finally, the researchers investigated whether BPA would promote the growth of tumor cells. As mentioned above, estrogen positive receptor cells are prominent in mammary carcinomas so in order to prevent any other estrogen hormones in the mice, the researchers gave the mice an ovariectomy. The mice were then exposed to a one of the following: a placebo pellet, an