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Ditch the Plastic to Prevent Infertility: New Reasons to Ban BPA

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When I was pregnant with my son, I threw out all the plastic containers and cups in our kitchen. I had read an article in Discover Magazine about how exposure to plastic (specifically bisphenol A, a chemical used to make plastic containers harder) could cause infertility in boys. Bye-bye, cheap Tupperware!

So it didn’t surprise me when I came across research that found bisphenol A (BPA) exposure could affect thyroid function and reproductive hormone levels in men — grown men. The study, published in the journal, Environmental Science and Technology, measured urinary concentrations of BPA and compared them to levels of serum thyroid and reproductive hormone levels in 167 men from an infertility clinic. Eighty-nine percent of the urine samples had detectable levels of BPA in them. Men with a higher concentration of BPA in their urine had higher blood levels of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and lower levels of inhibin B, both of which is associated with poor sperm quality.

This is only a preliminary study but it adds to a growing body of research that finds BPA exposure increasing the risk of male infertility. So far, Canada and Denmark are the only two countries that have banned their use in food packaging for children under 3. My household will follow suit and continue to shun these contaminated containers. You may want to consider cleaning out your cupboards too. (Hint: Pyrex makes great glass food containers.)

Source:

Meeker, JD et al. Environmental Science and Technology; 2010 Feb 15;44(4):1458-63.

Editor’s Note: BPA has been making big headlines this week. A group of 60 scientists from health and environmental organizations around the world has issued an open letter to the European Food Safety Authority, which is currently reviewing BPA’s safety, calling for stricter regulation of the chemical. The letter cites the myriad of scientific studies which demonstrate the hazards of BPA exposure.

Also this week, the Endocrine Society in the U.S. announced that the findings of two studies demonstrating the negative effects of BPA exposure on health will be presented at its annual meeting next week.

The first of the two studies shows that exposure to BPA in the womb may impair development of male testicular function later in life. The study authors said that their findings demonstrate the harmful effects of BPA on a cellular level — at levels that are lower than what the FDA and EPA consider safe for humans.

“This is concerning because large segments of the population, including pregnant and nursing mothers, are exposed to this chemical,” said lead study author, Benson Akingbemi.

The second study links BPA exposure to polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) in women.

Researchers found that compared to healthy women, women with polycystic ovary syndrome have higher concentrations of BPA in their blood, and they linked this increase to higher levels of male hormones as well.

“Women with the polycystic ovary syndrome should be alert regarding this environmental contaminant’s potential adverse effects on reproductive aspects of their health problem, said study co-author, Evanthia Diamanti-Kandarakis of the University of Athens Medical School in Greece.

Sources:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/22/AR2010062204545.html

http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/Quality-Safety/Further-health-fears-linked-to-bisphenol-A

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9 responses to “Ditch the Plastic to Prevent Infertility: New Reasons to Ban BPA”

  1. Lissa says:

    You are right that so many people are exposed to BPA in bottles and cans. It makes me think of cases of water bottles people keep in their trunk and back seat of their cars. The heat that these bottles are exposed to causes the BPA to leach into the water, which these people then drink. I realize the safety reasons for keeping bottled water in the car, but at the risk of one's health? Leaves you between a rock and a hard place.

    • Elyssa says:

      When I see plastic water bottles in cars, it always make me cringe. In truth, drinking out of plastic bottles altogether makes me cringe. Even if we do our best not to leave the bottles in a hot car, how do we know they haven't been exposed to heat during their shipment to the grocery store? I'd rather just stay away from them altogether.

  2. Brian says:

    I definitely need to phase out the plastic water bottles and tupperware. Does anyone know where to buy a liter size glass water bottle with a secure lid? I've tried to use a recycled bottle of juice as my “sports” water bottle, but the lid falls off easily if I put it in my tennis bag.

  3. Ka says:

    This makes sense, that this chemical has adverse affects on ones body. I'm sure diet also plays a role too. I have gotten really good tips in treating my ovarian cysts, from the web site, fertile heart.com
    The site also goes into imagery and body work and there are also messages boards on the site, where you can connect to others.

  4. Fertileheart says:

    This makes sense, that this chemical has adverse affects on ones body. I'm sure diet also plays a role too. I have gotten really good tips in treating my ovarian cysts, from the web site, fertileheart.com
    The site also goes into imagery and body work and there are also messages boards on the site, where you can connect to others. It's a great web site

  5. […] now” toxins that has received a lot of attention recently. The scientific evidence showing that BPA is a disaster for human health keeps piling up. How much of a disaster is it? Well, our neighbor to the North, Canada, recently […]

  6. […] now” toxins that has received a lot of attention recently. The scientific evidence showing that BPA is a disaster for human health keeps piling up. How much of a disaster is it? Well, our neighbor to the North, Canada, recently […]

  7. […] at a price – increased body levels of bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical that previous studies have linked to adverse health effects. The investigation showed that individuals who ate a serving of canned soup daily for five days had […]

  8. […] studies have linked BPA to health problems ranging from infertility and reproductive cancers to behavioral disorders in children. Canada recently banned BPA, […]