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Study Strengthens Link Between Breast Cancer and BPA
A recent study by Tufts University researchers strengthens the BPA-breast cancer link.
The study's authors said their research is the first to find the formation of full-blown, malignant tumors after developmental exposure to environmentally relevant levels of BPA. Further, the study says, no other carcinogens were present, which suggests BPA may act as a complete mammary gland carcinogen.
“From the point of view of human health research, the most notable aspect of the study is that the blood levels are very comparable to those found in humans, which isn’t always the case with animal studies,” epidemiologist Barbara Cohn said in an Environmental Health Perspectives Journal story on the study. Cohn is director of the Oakland, CA–based Child Health and Development Studies, a cohort of more than 15,000 mothers, daughters and granddaughters aimed at deciphering the role that environmental exposures play in the development of diseases such as breast cancer.
BPA, or bisphenol A, is an estrogen-mimicking industrial chemical used in some plastic bottles and food packaging, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It is one of the highest-volume chemicals produced worldwide, with a global production capacity of 11.5 billion pounds in 2008.
Epidemiological studies have suggested that exposure to elevated estrogen levels in the womb may be associated with an increase in a woman’s lifetime risk of breast cancer, the study says.
Humans appear to be exposed primarily through food packaging manufactured using BPA, although those products account for less than 5 percent of the BPA used in this country, the FDA says. In 2012, the FDA prohibited use of BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups.
Human exposure to BPA is widespread. One report from the nationally representative National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that 90 percent of respondents older than age 6 had detectable levels of BPA in their urine, the study says.
One weak spot of the experiment is that it had many more exposed rats than control rats—230 vs. 65. As a result, investigators cannot rule out the possibility that the tumors developed spontaneously, and not as a result of BPA exposure.
“This finding may be of great public health significance,” Cohn says. “But without a question it must be replicated before we can know for sure whether BPA is a complete carcinogen. Information on the impact of growing children's exposure to BPA on breast cancer also will be key to understanding the findings' public health significance."
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Last week, the Peruvian Palm Oil Producers' Association (JUNPALMA) promised to enter into an agreement for sustainable and deforestation-free palm oil production. The promise was secured by the U.S. based National Wildlife Federation (NWF) in collaboration with the local government, growers and the independent conservation organization Sociedad Peruana de Ecodesarrollo.
The rallying cry to build it again and to build it better than before is inspiring after a natural disaster, but it may not be the best course of action, according to new research published in the journal Science.
"Faced with global warming, rising sea levels, and the climate-related extremes they intensify, the question is no longer whether some communities will retreat—moving people and assets out of harm's way—but why, where, when, and how they will retreat," the study begins.
The researchers suggest that it is time to rethink retreat, which is often seen as a last resort and a sign of weakness. Instead, it should be seen as the smart option and an opportunity to build new communities.
"We propose a reconceptualization of retreat as a suite of adaptation options that are both strategic and managed," the paper states. "Strategy integrates retreat into long-term development goals and identifies why retreat should occur and, in doing so, influences where and when."
The billions of dollars spent to rebuild the Jersey Shore and to create dunes to protect from future storms after Superstorm Sandy in 2012 may be a waste if sea level rise inundates the entire coastline.
"There's a definite rhetoric of, 'We're going to build it back better. We're going to win. We're going to beat this. Something technological is going to come and it's going to save us,'" said A.R. Siders, an assistant professor with the disaster research center at the University of Delaware and lead author of the paper, to the New York Times. "It's like, let's step back and think for a minute. You're in a fight with the ocean. You're fighting to hold the ocean in place. Maybe that's not the battle we want to pick."
Rethinking retreat could make it a strategic, efficient, and equitable way to adapt to the climate crisis, the study says.
Dr. Siders pointed out that it has happened before. She noted that in the 1970s, the small town of Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin moved itself out of the flood plain after one too many floods. The community found and reoriented the business district to take advantage of highway traffic and powered it entirely with solar energy, as the New York Times reported.
That's an important lesson now that rising sea levels pose a catastrophic risk around the world. Nearly 75 percent of the world's cities are along shorelines. In the U.S. alone coastline communities make up nearly 40 percent of the population— more than 123 million people, which is why Siders and her research team are so forthright about the urgency and the complexities of their findings, according to Harvard Magazine.
Some of those complexities include, coordinating moves across city, state or even international lines; cultural and social considerations like the importance of burial grounds or ancestral lands; reparations for losses or damage to historic practices; long-term social and psychological consequences; financial incentives that often contradict environmental imperatives; and the critical importance of managing retreat in a way that protects vulnerable and poor populations and that doesn't exacerbate past injustices, as Harvard Magazine reported.
If communities could practice strategic retreats, the study says, doing so would not only reduce the need for people to choose among bad options, but also improve their circumstances.
"It's a lot to think about," said Siders to Harvard Magazine. "And there are going to be hard choices. It will hurt—I mean, we have to get from here to some new future state, and that transition is going to be hard.…But the longer we put off making these decisions, the worse it will get, and the harder the decisions will become."
To help the transition, the paper recommends improved access to climate-hazard maps so communities can make informed choices about risk. And, the maps need to be improved and updated regularly, the paper said as the New York Times reported.
"It's not that everywhere should retreat," said Dr. Siders to the New York Times. "It's that retreat should be an option. It should be a real viable option on the table that some places will need to use."
Leaked documents show that Jair Bolsonaro's government intends to use the Brazilian president's hate speech to isolate minorities living in the Amazon region. The PowerPoint slides, which democraciaAbierta has seen, also reveal plans to implement predatory projects that could have a devastating environmental impact.
Last week we received positive news on the border wall's imminent construction in an Arizona wildlife refuge. The Trump administration delayed construction of the wall through about 60 miles of federal wildlife preserves.