Do common plastics raise cancer risk? (1/09)

UAB research raises concerns about chemical additives Animal research at the University of Alabama at Birmingham is resurrecting cancer concerns about a plastic additive commonly used in consumer products, including baby bottles, water bottles and the linings of cans. Coral A. Lamartiniere, a top toxicologist and senior scientist at UAB's Comprehensive Cancer Center, said low levels of bisphenol-A, BPA, given orally to rodents caused tumors and genetic changes consistent with early stages of cancer growth.   Much of the research, performed over the past six years, is being prepared for review and publication, but a key paper on BPA was published last week in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. [CHART: Plastics by recycling numbers chart (excerpted) Safer Plastics: 1,2,4,5 Plastics to Avoid: 3,6,7 [Source: The Ecomoderate and Mount Sinai Medical Center] "The inference here is this compound could predispose humans toward breast cancer," said Lamartiniere, who led the study. The U.S. National Toxicology Program raised public concern about BPA on April 14, reporting that high dose levels of the compound created health hazards in laboratory animals. The agency said some concern was warranted for human fetuses, children and girls approaching puberty. But the agency noted that the threat was only possible and not certain. Critical evidence was missing, including good studies showing the impact of low doses of BPA on lab animals and humans, the agency reported. Shortly thereafter, the Food and Drug Administration reassured the public that products containing BPA were safe, but noted that alternative products without BPA were available. In testimony before Congress in May, the spokesman for the American Chemistry Council, an industry organization, said...