A new study from the University of Michigan, published in the February edition of the Environmental Health Perspectives, is the first to report a direct and statistically significant link between the exposure of BPA and liver cancer.

Caren Weinhouse, a doctoral student in the School of Public Health’s Department of Environmental Health Sciences, and her colleagues exposed female mice to varying levels of BPA that were equivalent to the levels of exposure that people would experience from plastics, the lining of food cans, cash register receipts, and paint. The highest level of exposure was 50 milligrams of BPA per kilogram of diet.

The exposed female mice were then bread and their offspring were observed to have a 27% higher than normal rate of liver cancer and the development of cancerous lesions in their livers. The researchers also observed that male and female mice developed liver cancer at the same rate. Normally female mice and humans have a lower rate of liver cancer than males. The study also proved that free BPA, or BPA that is not bonded to another molecules) could be transferred to the fetus and produce a higher potential for liver cancer.

Traditional 5-gallon plastic jugs are typically made from plastics that use BPA as a hardening agent. Previous studies have shown that the BPA may leach out of the plastic and into the drinking water. One way to make sure you aren’t accidentally consuming BPA? Switch to a bottleless water cooler!