A plastic additive used to make IV bags and tubing pliable interferes with breast cancer treatment, increasing mortality and the likelihood the cancer will return.
Resistance to chemotherapy and hormonal therapy is a major clinical problem in breast cancer medicine, especially for cancer metastasis and recurrence, according to scientists writing in the journal Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy.
The additive DEHP is a member of the family of chemicals known as phthalates. Phthalates have a host of handy industrial uses, from softening plastic and binding makeup to making ink stick to plastic bags. Scientists have recorded nearly as many adverse health impacts, from cancer and diabetes to infertility. The additives became part of the national conversation earlier this year with the publication of Dr. Shanna Swan’s Count Down, linking phthalates to global declines in male fertility.
In a study published earlier this month, researchers found DEHP also increases drug resistance, interfering with breast cancer treatment and increasing the likelihood of relapse.
“Regulators have long turned a blind eye toward the serious and harmful effect that phthalates have on our health,” said Pete Myers, chief scientist at Environmental Health Sciences, publisher of EHN.org. “This paper shows yet again what researchers worldwide are finding: We need safer chemistry in our products.”
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