The Global Fool

our planet is our village

Breast Cancer: Prevention is Better than Cure
Nov04

Breast Cancer: Prevention is Better than Cure

By The Editors The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) is a leading European not-for-profit organization addressing how the environment affects health in the European Union. With the support of more than 65 member organizations, HEAL brings independent expertise and evidence from the health community to different decision-making processes. According to HEAL, “the role that environmental factors play in cancer causation, specifically carcinogenic substances and other cancer-related chemicals, is increasingly recognized. Consequently, reducing exposure to hazardous substances is gaining prominence as a key approach to cancer prevention.” On October 23, 2013, HEAL member Breast Cancer UK (BCUK) launched its Manifesto ‘Prevention is better than cure: 5 pledges for 2015 and beyond’ calling on the UK Government ’to stop breast cancer before it starts’. Breast Cancer UK’s 5 manifesto pledges are: 1. Prioritize the primary prevention of breast cancer; 2. Improve the regulation of chemicals; 3. Protect the unborn child by offering advice to pregnant and breast feeding women; 4. Ban the use of Bisphenol A in food and drinks packaging; 5. Improve labelling laws and implement the ‘right to know’ what chemicals are in products. Results from recent studies show that Bisphenol A (BPA) is a complete mammary gland carcinogen. Breast Cancer UK believes much more can be done to help prevent people from getting breast cancer in the first place – but currently the Government’s failure to address the chemical causes of the disease fundamentally weakens breast cancer prevention policy. The launch of the Manifesto is one necessary step for increasing awareness of the risk factors associated...

Read More
What Are Endocrine Disruptors?
Aug21

What Are Endocrine Disruptors?

By Roberta Attanasio According to the International Programme on Chemical Safety, World Health Organization (WHO) (2002), an endocrine disruptor is an exogenous substance or mixture that alters function(s) of the endocrine system and consequently causes adverse health effects in an intact organism, or its progeny, or (sub) populations. This year, a group of experts convened by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and WHO defined the growing impact of hormone disruptors on human health problems a “global threat“.   What is the endocrine system? The endocrine system is one of the communication systems of our body and is found in all mammals, birds, fish, and many other types of living organisms. It’s made up of glands, which are located throughout the body and produce hormones. The major glands are the pineal, pituitary, thyroid and adrenal glands, as well as pancreas, ovaries and testes. What are hormones? Hormones are chemical messengers that broadcast messages throughout the body. Radio broadcasting stations use radio receivers to reproduce the audio sound signals. Similarly, endocrine messengers must be received through specialized receivers to transmit signals – these specialized receivers are called receptors. Therefore, in order to respond to a hormone, a cell must bear a receptor specific for that hormone. By interacting with a receptor in or on a cell, the hormone transmits a signal that tells the cell to behave differently – for example to grow more, or to stop growing. Hormones and the signals they transmit are critical to the normal functioning of every tissue and organ in both vertebrates and invertebrates and are often quite similar across species. There are over 50 different hormones and hormone-related molecules that, from conception through adulthood and into old age, coordinate and regulate all biological processes in the body, including the development and function of the brain and nervous system, the growth and function of the reproductive system, the development and function of the immune system, as well as metabolism and blood sugar levels. What are endocrine disruptors? Endocrine disruptors (also called endocrine disrupting chemicals) are chemicals that interfere in some way with hormone action and in so doing alter endocrine function and cause adverse effects on the health of humans and animals. Hormones and endocrine disruptors can act at all times during life – fetal development, infancy, early childhood, puberty, adulthood and old age. However, the strength of their impact may be different depending on the timing of their action. For example, during adult life the effects of hormones or endocrine disruptors may occur only during exposure. When exposure ends, the effects decrease. What is developmental programming? Because hormones play an important role in the development of tissues and organs...

Read More
A Not-So-New Role for Bisphenol A: Mammary Gland Carcinogen
Jul24

A Not-So-New Role for Bisphenol A: Mammary Gland Carcinogen

By The Editors Bisphenol A (BPA) is not just a harmful chemical found in many plastic products — it’s also a news champion, and our guess is we’ll keep hearing about it for a long time. The latest? BPA may act as a complete mammary gland carcinogen. BPA is a known endocrine disruptor (a chemical able to interfere with the body’s endocrine system and produce adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects in both humans and wildlife) and a potential environmental obesogen (a chemical able to disrupt the normal development and balance of lipid metabolism, which can lead to obesity). Moreover, mounting scientific evidence strongly suggests a link between BPA and cancer. The Breast Cancer Fund website states: “With regard to mammary development and increased risk for development of breast cancer, several studies using both rat and mouse models have demonstrated that even brief exposures to environmentally relevant doses of BPA during gestation or around the time of birth lead to changes in mammary tissue structure predictive of later development of tumors. Exposure also increased sensitivity to estrogen at puberty. Early exposure to BPA led to abnormalities in mammary tissue development that were observable even during gestation and were maintained into adulthood. Prenatal exposure of rats to BPA resulted in increases in the number of pre-cancerous lesions and in situ tumors (carcinomas), as well as an increased number of mammary tumors following adulthood exposures to subthreshold doses (lower than that needed to induce tumors) of known carcinogens.” Now, a new study published in the scientific journal Environmental Health Perspectives (Perinatally Administered Bisphenol A Acts as a Mammary Gland Carcinogen in Rats, July 23, 2013) concludes that “Developmental exposure to environmentally relevant levels of BPA during gestation and lactation induces mammary gland neoplasms in the absence of any additional carcinogenic treatment. Thus, BPA may act as a complete mammary gland carcinogen”. For their study, the authors used Sprague­Dawley rats, a strain used extensively for toxicology and carcinogenesis studies by the National Toxicology Program at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Pregnant rats were treated with a wide range of BPA doses for different exposure times. The mammary glands from the offspring were then examined for preneoplastic and neoplastic lesions. Unexpectedly, the investigators observed large mammary carcinomas occurring at BPA doses relevant to human exposure. Tumors were found in animals exposed to BPA across all doses and exposure times. BPA is the building block of polycarbonate plastic. It’s also used in the manufacture of epoxy resins found in many common consumer products as well as in thermal receipts and other paper products. Polycarbonate plastics have many applications including use in some food and...

Read More
The Worldwide Obesity Epidemic: Links to Bisphenol A
Jun25

The Worldwide Obesity Epidemic: Links to Bisphenol A

By The Editors In a previous post, we discussed globesity – the escalating global epidemic of overweight and obesity –  and said that controlling globesity requires a variety of approaches, including the understanding of the association between obesity and exposure to environmental pollutants. There are many widespread environmental pollutants that may be contributing to the development of obesity. One of these pollutants is bisphenol A (BPA). In 2012, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association indicated that urine BPA is associated with obesity in children and adolescents. Now, results from a study published in the scientific journal PLOS One show that high levels of exposure to BPA might contribute to obesity in girls 9 – 12 years old. The former study involved a U.S. population, while the latter study involved a Chinese population. Therefore, worldwide exposure to BPA in the human population may be contributing to the worldwide obesity epidemic. What is BPA? According to the US Food and Drug administration (FDA), BPA is an industrial chemical used to make a hard, clear plastic known as polycarbonate, which has been used in many consumer products, including reusable water bottles. BPA is also found in epoxy resins, which act as a protective lining on the inside of metal-based food and beverage cans. How does BPA get into the body? The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences tells us that the primary source of exposure to BPA for most people is through the diet. While air, dust, and water are other possible sources of exposure, BPA in food and beverages accounts for the majority of daily human exposure. Bisphenol A can leach into food from the protective internal epoxy resin coatings of canned foods and from consumer products such as polycarbonate tableware, food storage containers, water bottles, and baby bottles. The degree to which BPA leaches from polycarbonate bottles into liquid may depend more on the temperature of the liquid or bottle, than the age of the container. BPA can also be found in breast milk. In the U.S., BPA has been detected in more than 92% of urine samples, including samples from children. In addition, BPA has been detected in populations from many other countries. The study published in PLOS One was conducted in Shanghai as part of a larger national study of puberty and adolescent health.  “This study provides evidence from a human population that confirms the findings from animal studies — that high BPA exposure levels could increase the risk of overweight or obesity,” said Dr. De-Kun Li, principal investigator of the study and a senior research scientist at the Division of Research, Kaiser Permanente...

Read More