The battle over BPA wages on
First synthesized in 1891 as artificial estrogen, the chemical Bisphenol A (BPA) has since had a long and arduous history with environmentalist groups, government agencies, health organizations and individuals that has left BPA manufacturers of the losing end of a century-old tug-of-war.
First synthesized in 1891 as artificial estrogen, the chemical Bisphenol A (BPA) has since had a long and arduous history with environmentalist groups, government agencies, health organizations and individuals that has left BPA manufacturers of the losing end of a century-old tug-of-war. With recent research showing that BPA residuals in the bloodstream can have adverse health effects, that conflict isn't expected to end anytime soon.
BPA's health effects
The FDA this year banned manufacturers from lining baby bottles and sippy cups with BPA after research showed that BPA's effects on the endocrine and hormone systems of pregnant women could adversely affect their babies.
Two further studies within the past four years, both from the University of California San Diego, found that BPA metabolites are particularly good at binding to estrogen. the most recent study, published in PLOS ONE last week, discovered that MBP, one of BPA's metabolites, binds to estrogen twice as effectively as BPA in its natural state.
The promise of research
Now that they're able to localize MBP from BPA, researchers and healthcare providers will soon be able to measure MBP levels in the urine and blood of patients, which may help guide treatments. The discovery of MBP may also lead to new medications for estrogen-related health problems, including forms of breast and prostate cancer.
"One could use MBP, which has a novel structure, as a template to develop a new class of chemicals that could bind to the estrogen receptor with high affinity," one author said. "The goal would be to have these chemicals inhibit the action of estradiol instead of activating the estrogen response. These chemicals could control unwanted growth of estrogen-dependent tumors."
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