1. Health

Food Wrap Linked to Prostate Cancer


Updated May 02, 2005

Rates of prostate cancer continue to rise and a recent study suggests that a chemical used in food wraps and cans could be part of the cause. Bisphenol A is used in the manufacture of various bottles, food containers, food wrap and the linings of cans. It has long been suspected that Bisphenol A has a disruptive effect on human sex hormones and the recent surges in prostate cancer could point to environmental causes such as food packaging.

Frederick vom Saal, professor of biological sciences at the University of Missouri, says the problems start from pregnancy and only appear later in life. Small but regular levels of Bisphenol A entering the diet of pregnant women is considered to result in microscopic changes at the cellular level. Vom Saal argues that the changes are not detectable at birth but show up years later in the form of changes in the urethra, prostate enlargement and prostate cancer.

Bisphenl A is both cheap and convenient to produce but its effects at the cellular level may be to change the genetic controls the govern the rate of cell division. As men age this could be the trigger for rapid cell division which is the basis of cancer. In Japan, a relationship between low-level exposure to bisphenol A and obesity and polycystic ovarian disease in women has been established.

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