The Harvard School of Public Health in collaboration with the Silent Spring Institute (yes, you guessed it, named after the infamous environmentalist Rachel Carson), just released a list of 102 chemicals as critical for breast cancer research and prevention. They did use rodent studies as the basis of this list, and as we have said before and Trevor Butterworth says in his article in Forbes.com, it is very hard to make conclusions about carcinogenicity in humans from rodent studies, especially since exposure to these chemicals is very low in humans. Butterworth also highlights the fact that even the best-established risk factors for breast cancer are associated with modest increases in breast cancer risk and therefore weak associations based on long-term chemical exposures are going to be very hard to detect, and risk producing many false positives.
However, they did reach at least one appropriate conclusion: Bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical that has long been wrongly called an endocrine disruptor, was nowhere to be found on this list, and rightfully so. Besides a group of scientists from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, all other regulatory agencies acknowledge that BPA does not pose a hazard to human health at current exposure levels.
The biggest takeaway message according to Butterworth is that with increasingly limited government funding, it is time to consider the opportunity costs for other consensus-driven public health priorities, when the return on investment in BPA research increasingly looks like a diminishing commodity.
We hope that this study is able to finally bring an end to the case against BPA, as clearly there is no case to make.