More Evidence BPA Hurts Male Fertility

A prevailing study has, for the first time, linked the controversial polycarbonate plastic <"">bisphenol A—BPA—with human male sperm quality, said Web MD. It seems that men testing with high urinary BPA levels might have decreased sperm quality, which could lead to fertility issues. The study appears in Fertility and Sterility.

Prior studies suggesting similar results were conducted on animals, noted Web MD, which added that how the chemical affects sperm remains unknown; however, animal studies point to a negative impact on its production.

“The higher the BPA exposure, the worse the semen quality,” said study author De-Kun Li, MD, PhD, a reproductive and perinatal epidemiologist at Kaiser Permanente’s Division of Research in Oakland, quoted Web MD. “The findings add more weight to the evidence about the effects of BPA on sperm quality,” Dr. Li added.

The study looked at 218 male factory workers in China and found that those with higher levels of BPA exposure also had a two-to-four-fold risk of also having poor semen quality, said Web MD, versus those with either no or lower BPA urine levels. While some workers experienced BPA exposure at work, not all did; however, it was found that occupational BPA exposure contributed more significantly to increased BPA levels, noted Web MD.

Hundreds of studies have linked BPA—a ubiquitous, hormone mimicking plastics chemical—to cardiovascular disease, intestinal problems, brain cell connection interference, increased risks of reproductive and immune system diseases and disorders, problems with liver function testing, interruptions in chemotherapy, premature puberty, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and erectile dysfunction and male sexual problems. BPA is found in the bodies of 93 percent of Americans and 90 percent of American newborns. A recent study on which we just wrote revealed that human exposure to the ubiquitous estrogenic polycarbonate chemical is significantly higher than previously believed and also originates from a greater array of sources, many of which remain unknown.

A variety of manufacturers have eliminated, or are in the process of eliminating, BPA from certain products, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is asking for additional research on the chemical due to its “potential health concerns,” and the Canadian government just included BPA on its toxic chemicals listing. But, although the FDA and National Toxicology Program, which is part of the US Department of Health and Human Services, have stated “some concern about the potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland of fetuses, infants, and young children,” the FDA has not implemented any steps to reduce BPA exposure, said USA Today previously.

“This study clearly shows that BPA exposures adversely affect men in a serious way: by influencing their semen quality, which could have obvious impacts on their ability to have children,” Laura N. Vandenberg, PhD, of the department of biology at Tufts University in Boston, said in an email to Web MD.

“This study also shows that adult men are sensitive to BPA, and even small amounts of the chemical can have pretty drastic effects…. What remains to be seen is whether the effects of BPA on semen quality are permanent after the kinds of low, chronic exposures that most adults experience,” Vandenberg added, quoted Web MD.

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