BPA Linked to Brain Tumors for the First Time

<a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/cat.mhtml?lang=en&search_source=search_form&version=llv1&anyorall=all&safesearch=1&searchterm=headache&search_group=#id=97937585&src=72d8f178b5fee72b344611659696b51c-1-35" target="_blank">auremar</a>/Shutterstock

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


The news just keeps getting worse for bisphenol A. Lab and animal research has linked it to reproductive disorders, obesity, diabetes, and cancers sensitive to hormonal activity, like those of the breast and prostate. Studies show that more than the vast majority of Americans have measurable levels of BPA in their urine (though as Sydney Brownstone wrote on this blog yesterday, Old Order Mennonites seem to have less)—not surprising given that the chemical is used in thousands of consumer products, including cans and plastic packaging for food and beverages.

Now a new study from China has found an association, for the first time, between human exposure to BPA and brain tumors. The kind of  tumor, called meningioma, is usually benign and occurs more frequently in women than in men. Since female hormones appear to fuel the growth of meningioma tumors, it’s not surprising that an endocrine-disrupting chemical like BPA, which mimics estrogen in the body, could play a similar role.

In the study, researchers compared BPA urine levels in about 250 Chinese adults diagnosed with meningioma to a similar number of healthy controls. Those with the highest levels were 60 percent more likely to have a meningioma tumor than those with the lowest, after adjusting for being overweight, having a history of hormone replacement therapy, and other factors that can influence the risk of the disease. 

The study is far from conclusive. For one thing, the researchers determined BPA exposure levels from a single urine sample. Since the body quickly excretes BPA, a sample taken after a tumor has already developed does not necessarily indicate that exposure to the chemical predated the illness.

Despite the limitations, the findings are another reminder that ubiquitous chemicals like BPA are likely to inflict significant damage before the weight of evidence finally convinces federal agencies to take greater steps to cut human exposures. As Sydney noted in her post yesterday, the FDA still thinks it’s not a problem for us to ingest the chemical with our canned tomato soup.

MOTHER JONES NEEDS YOUR HELP

We have about a $200,000 funding gap and less than a week to go in our hugely important First $500,000 fundraising campaign. We urgently need your help, and a lot of help, this week so we can pay for the one-of-a-kind journalism you get from us.

Learn more in “Less Dreading, More Doing,” where we lay out this wild moment and how we can keep charging hard for you. And please help if you can: $5, $50, or $500—every gift from every person truly matters right now.

payment methods

MOTHER JONES NEEDS YOUR HELP

We have about a $200,000 funding gap and less than a week to go in our hugely important First $500,000 fundraising campaign. We urgently need your help, and a lot of help, this week so we can pay for the one-of-a-kind journalism you get from us.

Learn more in “Less Dreading, More Doing,” where we lay out this wild moment and how we can keep charging hard for you. And please help if you can: $5, $50, or $500—every gift from every person truly matters right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate