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A University of Ulster scientist has warned that that bisphenol A (BPA) which is used in the manufacturing of some babies bottles is a potentially cancer-causing chemical.
Professor Soto’s research has examined the role that BPA has played in its link with mammary cancer. Together with Professor Carlos Sonnenschein from Tufts University, she has discovered that foetal and neonatal exposure to the chemical increases the likelihood of development of malignant tumours later in life.
Professor Soto said that the man-made hormone diethylstilboestrol (DES), which was once used to prevent miscarriage, increased breast cancer risk of women exposed during foetal life – an effect that was also observed in foetally -exposed rats.
Professor Soto, who is a Professor of Cancer Development at Ulster and a professor of Cell Biology at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston in the USA, said: “There are clear parallels in the studies that we have undertaken that a link exists between foetal exposure to BPA and occurrence of mammary cancer in rats.
“DES exposure also resulted in increased risk of mammary cancer in rats. Epidemiological evidence has revealed an increased incidence of breast cancer in women exposed to diethylstilboestrol when in the womb, hence, there is no reason to think that BPA would not cause a similar outcome in humans.”
BPA is used in making strong plastics for everything ranging from bottles for water, sports equipment, CDs and DVDs, as well as baby bottles.
The chemical mimics the hormone estrogen and has in recent weeks been banned or use has been limited in Canada, Denmark and France.
Professor Soto said: “I would call for a banning of the use of BPA giving the growing evidence and increasing concerns that research has shown. The foetal and neonatal life are crucial for a child’s development and parents should consider the advantage of using BPA-free products.”