Pre-Birth Exposure to BPA May Affect Male Genitalia

Much has been said about the ongoing health issues linked to the polycarbonate plastics chemical bisphenol-A (BPA), and readers of this blog are well aware of the myriad health issues that affect people, from infancy on up, who are exposed to the controversial toxin. Now, says, Health Canal, BPA appears to strike baby boys in utero.

Exposure to BPA, when in the womb, may impact the health of male genital development, according to an observational Kaiser Permanente study that appears online in the journal Birth Defects Research.

The study revealed that boys born to Chinese workers who were exposed to BPA were likelier to be diagnosed with a reduced anogenital distance (AGD)—the distance between their genitals and anus—versus boys born to parents not exposed to workplace BPA, explained Health Canal. The study also revealed that the link between in utero BPA exposure and anogenital disease is dose responsive, which means that the greater the exposure to BPA during pregnancy the shorter the baby’s AGD.

“Although the finding needs to be confirmed by additional research, this study provides the first epidemiological evidence that parental exposure to BPA in the workplace during pregnancy is associated with shortened AGD in male offspring,” said De-Kun Li, MD, PhD, the lead study investigator and a reproductive and perinatal epidemiologist at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, California, wrote Health Canal. “This finding indicates that BPA may interfere with testosterone function during fetal development because the shortened AGD indicates under-developed male genitalia, likely due to an abnormal testosterone function,” Dr. Li added.

Other studies published by Dr. Li and his colleagues—this is the fifth—concerning BPA’s effects on human health have revealed a number of equally disturbing findings. In their first study—Oxford Journal Human Reproduction, 2009—found that high BPA workplace levels increase the likelihood of reduced male sexual function, said Health Canal. The second study (2010, Journal of Andrology) revealed that increasing BPA urine levels are linked with “worsening male sexual function” and the third study (Fertility and Sterility) revealed that increased BPA urine levels were significantly linked to decreased sperm concentration, count, vitality, and motility, reported Health Canal. The fourth study—2011, Journal of Reproductive Toxicology—revealed that parental BPA exposure during pregnancy was linked to decreased birth weight in children.

“This new epidemiological study of in utero BPA effects on the fetal male reproductive system provides direct evidence from human studies that is urgently needed as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and various other U.S. government panels are evaluating this controversial topic,” Li said concerning the current study, wrote Health Canal.

As we have long said, BPA, with its estrogenic, hormone-mimicking properties, interrupts sexual development and processes, especially in developing fetuses, infants, and children and has been linked to toxic injury and implications in 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 treatment, premature puberty, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and other female fertility and endocrine issues, and erectile dysfunction and male sexual problems.

The controversial polycarbonate plastics chemical is present in a growing number of consumer products including food and beverage can linings, CDs and DVDs, dental sealants, nautical resins, and thermal receipt paper. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently said that about 1 million pounds of BPA are released into the environment annually.

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