Bad news again about the widely prevalent plastic compound Bisphenol-A (BPA). It is sometimes referred to as a gender bending chemical. Bisphenol-A is used to harden plastics. It is unique in that it mimics the female sex hormone estrogen. How widespread is this chemical? Well, it is found in food containers baby bottles, CD cases, plastic knives and forks and big bean tins, to name a few. It is even used in the lining of food and drink cans.
Why we so concerned about Bisphenol-A? because it has the chemical characteristic of the female sex hormone estrogen. It can interfere in many ways, the hormones of being processed in the human body. It has been of some concern as a feminizing chemical on unsuspecting consumers.Now U.S researchers have linked the BPA chemical to poor semen quality in men for the first time. The prestigious journal fertility and sterility has published a scientific research paper on this very subject. The researchers found that Chinese factory workers exposed to high levels of the plastic chemical and low sperm counts.
In many ways this is not surprising, since animal studies have long shown that the chemical was linked with reproductive problems. Basically, it has an estrogen effect so it would be particularly dangerous with respect to male reproductive function. Along these lines, previous research in the same men linked BPA exposure with sexual problems. This latest study was funded by The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health.
The findings clearly suggest that BPA may be one of the main offending compounds in plastic can interfere with sperm function. The study involved 130 Chinese factory employees who worked directly with materials containing BPA and 88 workers who didn’t handle it and whose exposure was similar to that of typical western men.
Low sperm counts were found in workers who had detectable levels of bisphenol-A in their urine. Poor sperm quality was two to four times more prevalent among these men than among workers whose urine showed no sign of BPA.
Remarkably, the lowest sperm counts were in men with the highest levels of BPA.Levels of BPA in urine were linked with lower-quality semen even in men who didn’t work with the chemical, although their average BPA levels were much lower than in the other group.
Many authorities have called for an urgent review into the safety of bisphenol A (BPA ).The leading academics have also urged manufacturers to cut down on BPA in food packaging and containers. Millions of pounds of this compound are being produced every day, uut remarkably, we still don’t have a clear handle of the many ways that this compound is getting into humans.
Small effects for large numbers of people matter because it means that the prevalence of the problem may increase. Human drug trial-type assessments are needed to settle once and for all whether this compound is bio-active in humans. The bottom line cut exposure to BPA containing plastics, especially if fertility considerations are an issue.