Conflicting studies continue debate on BPA

By Gayle S. Putrich
Staff Reporter

Published: March 14, 2014 11:58 am ET
Updated: March 14, 2014 12:01 pm ET

Related to this story

Topics Public Policy, Materials Suppliers

WASHINGTON — Conflicting claims by separate BPA exposure studies are adding fuel the fire in the continuing saga of bisphenol A.

Findings by Cincinnati Cancer Center researchers published in PLOS ONE say small amounts of BPA in men’s urine could be a cancer marker, making it the first study to claim that low-dose BPA may cause cancer development in the prostate.

In the study, published in early March, researchers assessed the prostate-specific antigen of 60 urology patients using urine samples. Higher levels of BPA were found in prostate cancer patients than in non-prostate cancer patients, and the difference was more significant in patients younger than 65.

Principle investigator Shuk-mei Ho, director of the Cincinnati Cancer Center, and professor at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, said human exposure to BPA is a common occurrence and while animal studies have shown that BPA contributes to development of prostate cancer, human data is scarce.

“We examined the centrosome profile of prostate cancer cells treated with BPA and found that treatment with BPA increased the number of cells with abnormal centrosomes,” Ho said in a news release. “All of these findings reveal a previously unknown relationship between BPA exposure and prostate cancer and suggest a mechanism underlying the role of BPA in cellular transformation and disease progression. With this insight, we hope to further investigate ways we can decrease exposures to potentially cancerous-causing chemicals in every day products and substances and reduce the onset of prostate cancer in men.”

The American Chemistry Council, however, says the UC study is flawed and misleading because it is based on a misunderstanding about how BPA is processed in the human body.

“The fundamental flaw in this report is the authors’ complete misunderstanding of important analysis from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on interpretation of BPA exposure measurements from single urinary spot samples. Because BPA is processed quickly in the body and eliminated, measuring BPA levels at one point in time provides essentially no information about BPA levels at an earlier time period,” said Steven Hentges of ACC’s Polycarbonate/BPA Global Group via email. “In direct contrast, the authors suggest that a single urine sample collected from study participants when prostate cancer is diagnosed could represent their exposures when prostate cancer initiated and developed, which likely would have been many decades earlier. This suggestion is absolutely contrary to the analysis from CDC and, accordingly, this study has no capability to establish a cause-and-effect relationship from the reported statistical associations.”

BPA, which is a feedstock for polycarbonate and epoxy, has been the subject of hundreds of studies, some of which suggest a link with adverse health effects while others exonerate it.

In fact, another BPA study by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the National Toxicology Program at the National Institutes of Health, released weeks before the UC study, found that low doses of BPA had no effect on the health of rats.

While rats exposed in the womb and as newborns to the two highest doses of BPA had lower body weights, abnormal female reproductive development and altered hormone levels, there were no such effects when the rats were exposed to the low doses that humans are routinely exposed to.

Researchers exposed rats to BPA a few days after conception and continued through sexual maturity. Doses ranged from about 70 times the amount that Americans typically get through their diet to millions of times that amount. Even when rats got more than 70,000 times what a typical American ingests, there was no change in body weight, reproductive organs or hormone levels, the scientists reported. It took exposures millions of times higher than what humans typically receive to cause adverse effects like lower body weights, abnormal reproductive development or altered hormone levels, the study said.

The research is part of a two-year FDA project — funded by the FDA and the National Institutes of Health — to determine the toxicity of BPA, which is critical to setting any future regulations on its use in food products. A group of academics from several universities working with the FDA will be conducting more studies over the next year.


Comments

Conflicting studies continue debate on BPA

By Gayle S. Putrich
Staff Reporter

Published: March 14, 2014 11:58 am ET
Updated: March 14, 2014 12:01 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Akro-Plastic buying German subsidiary from Metabolix

October 24, 2014 3:32 pm ET

Akro-Plastic GmbH, a Niederzissen, Germany-based plastic compounder, has purchased the assets of Metabolix Inc.'s subsidiary in Germany.    More

Image

BASF pre-tax earnings rise, but will miss financial targets for 2015

October 24, 2014 10:16 am ET

BASF SE has raised its expectations for pre-tax earnings in 2014 but warned that it would not hit its financial targets for next year.    More

Image

Sabic, Shell cancel expansion for SADAF joint venture in Saudi Arabia

October 24, 2014 9:19 am ET

Saudi Basic Industries Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell have cancelled plans to expand an existing petrochemical joint venture in Saudi Arabia following...    More

Image

Sadara CEO says Middle East now has 20 percent of global ethylene capacity

October 24, 2014 9:33 am ET

Sadara CEO Ziad Al-Labban claims that the Middle East's ethylene capacity is now 20 percent of global production.    More

OSHA investigation launched following blast at NJ reticulated foam plant

October 24, 2014 9:00 am ET

Four workers were concussed and sustained minor injuries during an explosion at the Inoac Crest Foam plant in Moonachie, N.J., earlier this month.    More

Market Reports

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Plastics in Mexico - State of the Industry Report

This report analyzes the $20 million dollar plastics industry in Mexico including sales of machinery & equipment, resins and finished products.

Our analysts provide insight on business trends, foreign investment, top end markets and plastics processing activity. The report also provides important data on exports, production, employment and value of plastics products manufactured.

Learn more

Plastics Caps & Closures Market Report

The annual recap of top trends and future outlook for the plastics caps & closures market features interviews with industry thought leaders and Bill Wood’s economic forecast of trends in growing end markets. You will also gain insight on trends in caps design, materials, machinery, molds & tooling and reviews of mergers & acquisitions.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

More Events