Urgent action urged to cut women`s exposure to cancer-causing chemicals

Updated: May 14, 2013, 14:46 PM IST

Melbourne: A UK charity has called for urgent action to reduce women`s exposure to cancer-causing chemicals.

Breast Cancer UK said that there is "compelling" evidence that Bisphenol A (BPA) could be contributing to the rapid increase in the number of women being diagnosed with the disease.

The charity also revealed that there are nearly 42,000 new cases of breast cancer every year in England and incidence rates have increased by 90 percent since 1971, News.com.au reported.

In a new report, it said that low dose exposure to the chemical, which mimics human hormones and is routinely used in a variety of consumer products including tin cans, plastic food packaging, water bottles and lunch boxes, has been linked to breast cancer and other diseases.

The charity is calling for the hormone-disrupting chemical to be banned from all food and drinks packaging.

The European Food Safety Authority and the UK`s Food Standards Agency claim that BPA is safe, based on their assertion that human exposure to BPA is allegedly low and that humans rapidly eliminate it from the body, the report said.

But the report said that tests have shown that our daily exposure could be as much as eight times more than the so-called `safe` limit.

In addition to evidence to suggest that BPA could be a causative factor in breast cancer, studies show that it may also be implicated in other health problems such as infertility, obesity, prostate cancer, brain tumours, diabetes, heart disease and neurological and behavioural disorders, the report added.

Lynn Ladbrook, Breast Cancer UK campaigns manager said the government "can no longer sweep this sort of overwhelming evidence under the carpet."

Ladbrook added that the government must acknowledge that our routine exposure to chemicals, like BPA, is a key part of the cancer prevention puzzle, one that is currently missing from its cancer and public health strategies.

This gap must redress if we are to begin to help protect the health of future generations, Ladbrook suggested.