BPA: The Bathroom Toxin that Fuels Breast Cancer

In BPA and breast cancer, Breast Cancer, Inflammatory Breast Cancer on October 9, 2017 at 6:08 pm

Most people worry about the BPA (bisphenol A) in plastic water bottles, but did you know that this dangerous chemical is in your toilet paper? Even the ‘greenest’ toilet paper you find in your health food store is contaminated.

BPA is also found on cash register receipts, paper napkins and towels, copy paper, in dental fillings, and more.  Remember how years ago the registers at the grocery store would always jam? The addition of BPA made things go much smoother (and helped stabilize the ink), and that is the same for toilet paper and other paper products.

Why the fuss?  Studies show that BPA and other endocrine disrupting chemicals help promote the development of breast cancer tumors through the proliferation of estrogen receptor (ER)-positive human breast cancer cells. BPA mimics estrogen and understanding the effects of it has helped scientists and researchers to understand how cell proliferation happens in an estrogen independent manner. In other words, once again I remind you that the estrogens your body makes cannot always be blamed for your cancer—but that is a whole other topic.  Chemical toxins must be acknowledged and addressed.

Importantly, for those who choose conventional treatments, BPA has been found to prevent chemotherapy drugs from inducing apoptosis (cancer cell death) in breast cancer cells — hence, rendering them rather ineffective.[i]

Furthermore, BPA appears to aid the survival of inflammatory breast cancer cells, the most lethal and fastest-growing form of breast cancer. A recent study performed by researchers at the Department of Surgery at Duke University School of Medicine and the Duke Cancer Institute found that BPA increases the cell signaling pathway MAPK (mitogen-activated protein kinases) in inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) cells. This offers valuable insight as to how the disease grows. Plus, the presence of BPA may actually lead to resistance to cancer drugs targeting this pathway, which helps explain why conventional medicine is so often ineffective against IBC. (See also the note on this below).

The researchers also found that BPA inhibits the efforts of cancer drugs that normally work to kill IBC cancer cells by inhibiting EGFR signaling. They determined that when the cells were tainted with BPA, EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor) activation nearly doubled and signaling to the MAPK pathways also increased. The result was a rise in cancer cell growth.

Despite efforts to find a safer alternative to BPA, so far not so good. One substance, BPS (Bisphenol S) also acts like estrogen in breast cancer cells. A study done on the effects of BPS found that not only did BPS induce the proliferation of breast cancer cells but may also cause breast cancer to be more aggressive.  That study also found that those who have the BRAC1 mutated gene and are exposed to BPS may have an even greater risk of developing breast cancer.

What can you do? Fortunately, BPA can be flushed out of the body in about a day or so—assuming you do not expose yourself in the meantime. BPA is metabolized rather quickly, but that doesn’t make it any less dangerous. Further, if you have impaired detoxification, say from the MTHFR or other mutation (or just an over-worked liver), you may not metabolize toxins as efficiently.  Here are a few tips for extracting and excreting BPA:

  • Consume probiotics, whether in supplement or fermented food form (kimchi, natural sauerkraut, etc.)
  • Eat plenty of raw, organic vegetables
  • Drink black tea
  • Consider brisk exercise and saunas
  • Consume quercetin, found in apples, red grapes, tea, and onions, as well as in supplement form
  • Get adequate folate from foods or supplements (not folic acid, which is toxic)
  • Take royal jelly
  • Maximize melatonin (get to bed by ten or take a low-dose supplement)

Importantly, while curcumin does not necessarily flush BPA out, it does inhibit the proliferative effects of BPA on human breast cancer cells. Treatment with curcumin, a miR-19 inhibitor (miR-19 is involved in BPA-mediated MCF-7 cell proliferation), leads to suppression of proliferation, growth, and invasion/metastasis of cancer cells. Sadly, most oncologists tell their patients not to take supplements, including curcumin, during treatment.

I also recommend overall detoxification strategies. If you would like a copy of my Estrogen and Detoxification Handouts, you can order them via my Contact Page.

So now that you are BPA free, how can you further avoid exposure?

Keep in mind that breast cancer rates have soared in the last 50 years.  Not coincidentally, the replacement of glass and cotton items with plastic and other chemical laden products has also soared—the connection is clear. Give a few of these suggestions a try:

  • Use glass or stainless-steel containers for water and storage. Again, BPA-free alternatives my not be any better, and could be worse.
  • Use cotton cloth napkins and kitchen towels instead of paper napkins and paper towels.
  • Cut up old cotton tee shirts, towels, bed sheets, and diapers to make disposable or washable toilet paper sheets. Place a diaper pail or washable waste can next to the toilet.  When you run a hot wash, toss them in. (Your mother managed, so can you).
  • Pee in the shower. It’s not as grody as it sounds. Pee as soon as you get in, and by time you soap up and shave, all will be fine.
  • Buy cotton hankies to blow your nose.
  • And of course, never, ever touch cash register receipts. Simply decline them, or wear disposable gloves. You may also want to discuss this with your merchant for their protection as well. Many stores have made changes because of this.


~~If you don’t know your options, you don’t have any~~

ej portrait 150resElyn Jacobs is a breast cancer survivor and holistic cancer strategist who helps people make better, healthier, non-toxic choices. She emphasizes the critical nature of addressing the root cause of cancer and not just its presenting symptoms (such as the tumor). Elyn specializes in understanding the role of estrogen in breast cancer and debunks the myths associated. She is a Contributing Editor for The Truth About Cancer and was creator and host of the Survive and Live Well Radio Show on the Cancer Support Network. Elyn is on the Medical Advisory Board for BeatCancer.Org and is on the Advisory Board to the Radical Remission Project. Elyn was the former Executive Director of the Emerald Heart Cancer Foundation. Contact Elyn via her website. Elyn offers consults via Skype, phone or in person.

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[i] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2649250/

Other resources:

Science Daily

Science Daily

Note: IBC, an aggressive, metastasis-associated, therapy resistant type of breast cancer, is often resistant to radio-therapy and may actually progress with chemotherapy.

  1. Creighton CJ, Li X, Landis M, et al. Residual breast cancers after conventional therapy display mesenchymal as well as tumor-initiating features. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2009;106:13820-13825.
  1. I have had two surgeries for vulvular intra-epithelial neoplasia where they removed a section of the skin on the vulva near the vagina as a result of hpv. I also wear pads and disposable underwear due to poor bladder control. Should I consider they may have/carry bpa in them in the same way as toilet paper and Kleenex?

  2. Kimcchi is a possible carcinogen.

    • Yes, that is true of all fermented foods. Those foods contain N-nitroso compounds, which are likely carcinogens.
      However, pretty much everything we eat these days has a dark side. Therefore, in moderation, fermented is fine if you enjoy it. Those who eat fermented tend to be healthier, but then there are many reasons for that as well.

  3. What strain of probiotics would flush out bpa after composite fillings?

    • Hi Tina, I am really not sure, but I do recommend you take various and occasionally switch them up. There are other things that help with this as well. Best, Elyn

  4. I recently removed my breast implants. Are you aware of information regarding BPA’s in implants?

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