Plastic packaging cancer link

Sunday, 02 October, 2005

Compounds found in plastic products used to wrap or contain food and beverages have aroused concerns as possible cancer-causing agents because they can sometimes leach out of the plastic and migrate into the food, researchers are claiming.

The likelihood of this happening is said to be increased after heating or when the plastic is old or scratched. In two studies funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, researchers at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, US, have demonstrated that two plasticiser compounds, BPA and BBP, are environmental estrogens capable of affecting gene expression in the mammary glands of young female laboratory rats exposed to the compounds through their mothers' milk.

BPA (bisphenol A) is a synthetic resin used in food packaging, dental sealants and polycarbonate plastic products, which range from CDs and eyeglass lenses to tableware and food and beverage containers, including baby bottles. BBP (n-butyl benzyl phthalate) is a widely used plasticiser used in food wraps and cosmetics.

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