New research done by University of Illinois at Chicago, U.S.A., has linked prostate cancer to the early foetal exposure to low concentration of Bisphenol A (BPA). According to the National Cancer Institute, 15% of American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in their lives.
BPA is used to make polycarbonate plastics and can be found in aluminum beverage cans, most food cans, infant formula that comes in cans, dental sealants, paper receipts, and epoxy-lined beer cans. Estimated more than 90% of Americans carry traces of BPA in their bodies, so that there is almost “universal fetal exposure” to BPA.
The researchers implanted stem cells from deceased young men into lab mice. Then fed BPA to the mice for the first 3 months of life. 33% of the stem cells has cancerous or precancerous lesion later in their life. 45% of the cells that were exposed to BPA before and after mice implantation developed precancerous or cancerous lesions later.
The researchers propose that early exposure to BPA permanently reprograms a fetus’ stem cells. Those stem cells are then used to replenish organs throughout the course of a person’s life, and if those stem cells are extra-sensitive to estrogen as a result of early exposure, they will pass on that sensitivity to the prostate tissues later in life. It’s already known that men’s rising levels of estrogen, which happens naturally as they age, are partly responsible for causing prostate cancer.