Hormonal hazard: Chemicals used in paints and plastics can promote breast tumor growth

4 min read
The increasing use of photoinitiators, especially in medical settings, has raised concerns about their adverse effects on human health. Now, scientists have shown that three photoinitiators -- 1-HCHPK, MBB, and MTMP -- show estrogen-like activity in mice and increase the growth of breast cancer tumors in these animals. Their results warn against the use of such chemicals in medical instruments like containers and call for the prompt development of safer alternatives.
Photoinitiators are chemicals that release reactive molecules in response to UV radiation. Given these properties, photoinitiators are used in a wide range of products, including plastics, paints, inks, and adhesives. As a result, photoinitiators are present in several objects of everyday use as well as in medical products and instruments such as dental fillers and containers.

Recently, studies have demonstrated several health hazards associated with photoinitiators, raising alarms about their safety. In particular, the presence of these compounds in clinical instruments, routinely used for treating high-risk individuals such as cancer patients, has become a major cause for concern. Previous studies have shown that three photoinitiators commonly found in plastics and paints -- 1-HCHPK, MBB, and MTMP -- show estrogen-like effects on cultured breast cancer cells, increasing their proliferation. Owing to the presence of these compounds in marketed injection solutions and the well-known link between estrogen activity and breast cancer, a thorough investigation of their effect on breast tumor growth is warranted.

Dr. Yoichi Kawasaki and Prof. Toshiaki Sendo from Okayama University in Japan sought to gain a better understanding of these effects. In their recent study published in…
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