BPA Linked to Male Infertility
06.28.11 BPA Linked to Male Infertility
There has been much buzz in the news regarding the potential link between the hormone-disrupting chemical BPA and early onset puberty in girls, female infertility and breast cancer. There is also reason to believe that BPA is harmful to boys. A study published in 2010 by Kaiser Permanente Northern California links increased levels of BPA with male infertility. Although this isn’t a new study, it has recently been covered in the news.
Past studies conducted on mice and rats have shown that BPA negatively affects the male reproductive system. This most recent study by Kaiser Permanente, conducted over a period of five years, is among the first to explore the relationship between BPA in the human body and decreased fertility. Outlined below are some of their findings:
- Two previous studies were conducted by Kaiser Permanente on this issue. The first study identified a link between high levels of BPA in the work environment and reduced sexual function. A second study shows that increased levels of BPA in the urine is correlated to reduced sexual function as well.
- This most recent study combined the premise of each of the two previous studies and compared BPA levels in the urine of Chinese factory workers.
- Results showed that men with increased levels of BPA in their urine were at two to four times the risk of having poor semen quality.
- Senior research scientist with Kaiser Permanente, Dr. De-Kun Li, says, with regard to the potential potency of BPA, that “it could lead to pathological changes of the male reproductive system in addition to the changes of sexual function.”
Recently, another study was presented at the Endocrine Societies 93rd Annual Meeting. The results of this study, yielded equally startling results. In this study, mice received injections of BPA for two months. The outcome was as follows: Compared to mice that received BPA-free saline injections, the mice that were injected with BPA produced 50% smaller litters. In addition, results showed: decreased sperm concentration, count, vitality, motility and overall lower testosterone levels.
When does exposure to BPA begin to have a negative effect on the human body? Some researchers believe that it starts in the womb. Seattle’s Children’s Research Institute conducted a study, published in April, which links high levels of gestational BPA to neurobehavioral concerns in newborns. In January 2010, the EWG tested umbilical cord blood and found that 90% of the samples were positive for BPA. From these studies we’ve learned there is reason to believe that BPA is linked to decreased adult male fertility. We also now know, thanks to the Environmental Working Group, that BPA is overwhelmingly present in umbilical cord blood. As such, we can assume that BPA can negatively impact the reproductive system of a developing fetus.
Over the last several years, BPA has come under considerable scrutiny. Used in the production of numerous products including polycarbonate plastics and linings of metal food cans, it’s been linked to reproductive disorders, endocrine disruption, cancer, diabetes, heart disease and ADD.
Some ways you can reduce your exposure to BPA:
- In lieu of plastic bottles, dishware and storage containers - switch to glass, silicone or stainless steel
- Choose fresh or frozen food over canned
- Do not microwave food in plastic containers
- If you feed your baby with formula, use powdered formula. BPA can leach from cans into liquid formula.
- Wash hands after handling receipts