Professors Ana Soto and Carlos Sonnenschein from Tufts University, Boston presented "The indisputable scientific evidence of the toxicity of bisphenol A" at a press conference and public meeting in Paris on Monday, 27 April 2009.
Organized by Reseau Environment Sante, the aim was to send a clear message to the French Health Minister Roselyne Bachelot who recently told the National Assembly that reliable studies show bisphenol A (BPA) to be harmless.
Ana Soto, professor of cellular biology at the medical faculty at Tufts University is also an expert on the xenoestrogen hypothesis, which associates exposure to hormone disrupting chemicals with genital tract malformations in baby boys, low fertility, and increased incidence of breast, prostate and testicular cancer. Prof Soto said that studies in rats showed prenatal exposure to BPA reduces fertility and induces hyperplastic and neoplastic lesions in the mammary glands that are precursors of breast cancer.
She reminded an audience of 40 journalists and other participants that studies on fetal exposure to DES (a hormone disruptor) in rats in 1981 had also shown an increased propensity of the rat mammary gland to neoplastic development. Twenty-five years later, human studies showed women exposed in utero to DES were more likely to develop breast cancer. She wondered whether history would be repeated in relation to BPA.
In 2006, her studies on prenatal exposure to BPA showed induced hyperplastic and neoplastic lesions in rats. She asked: "By 2031, will we see human breast cancer incidence increased among women exposed in utero to BPA in 2031?" She told the audience that it was for them to respond on whether society should be taking this risk.
The City of Paris has taken a very different position from that of French Health Minister Bachelot. Addressing the meeting, Denis Baupin from the Environment department said environment and health was a major issue for Paris. "Paris crèches will not purchase any more baby bottles containing BPA," he said. One of their aims was to see a ban on bisphenol A in all food plastics. "We want to show precaution for prevention," he said.
Andre Cicolella for Reseau Environment Sante said that although he welcomed the decision in Canada to ban bisphenol A in baby bottles, he was disappointed that norms on exposure were not being changed. In October 2008, Canada was the first country in the world to take action on BPA under its Chemicals Management Plan. The importation, sale and advertising of baby bottles containing bisphenol A has been prohibited.
Written on 30 April 2009.