The French National Academy of Medicine has released a report which recognises that endocrine disrupting chemicals are contributing to the rising incidence of some hormone dependent cancers. This publication, which HEAL believes represents an important step forward in environmental health understanding, will hopefully prompt a major reflection in many other European countries.
An article in the major French daily newspaper, Le Monde, on 11 November, covered the report of the French National Academy of Medicine on the cancer risk from endocrine disrupting chemicals in the environment and food. A unofficial translation from the French language of the article follows:
"These chemicals, such as phthalates, bisphenol A (BPA) or certain pesticide residues are likely to disrupt the hormonal system and increase the incidence of certain cancers.
For thirty years, the academy noted, the incidence of prostate cancer has increased 5.2 times, while breast cancer incidence has doubled. Similarly, the incidence of testicular cancer has nearly tripled in young men since 1975. What part have endocrine disruptors - and particularly the BPA, the most ubiquitous of them – played in this development? This contribution is "very difficult to quantify," note the reporters who insist that a significant contribution to the increase is also diagnosis-related screening programmes.
But the Academy notes that "there is a convergent beam of sufficient data in rodents showing a carcinogenic effect of BPA at doses well below the permitted daily doses in humans." "The carcinogenic effects in rodents are delayed after exposure in utero or after birth", say the authors, who reviewed a portion of the scientific literature on the subject and conducted a series of hearings.
Similarly, the academy noted a link, especially among farmers, between pesticide use and prostate cancer - the same link was not found with breast cancer. Faced with the reality of "low-dose effects in rodents (...) not provided by traditional toxicology (...) observed for doses lower than the acceptable daily intake (ADI) by the health authorities," the Academy believes that "the authorities’ strategy to determine the toxicological ADI" is "questionable".
For the Academy, a ban on BPA is premature in the absence of alternative technical solutions. But preventive measures need to be taken, particularly for people at risk: young children, people with hormone-dependent cancer, and pregnant and lactating women.
For example, "prohibit heating food in plastic packaging" in catering facilities (canteens, clinics, etc., "avoid storing mineral water in plastic bottles for a long time and at high-temperatures, which may be associated with a release phthalates." The institution ... says it is also necessary to "advise cashiers handling thermal receipts (containing BPA) to wear gloves, especially if they are pregnant" and to prevent the recycling of "packaging containing BPA or phthalates".
The article was written by Stéphane Foucart, and published on 11 November 2011.
The Report of the Academie de Medicine, Paris, about endocrine disrupting chemicals, including Bisphenol A was released on Wednesday, 9 November, and can be found here
Written on 22 November 2011.