|Exposure to BPA may cause fertility issues|
|Written by Shelley Singler, Daily Vidette Staff Writer|
|Sunday, 12 December 2010 23:40|
According to a new study, women exposed to the chemical Bisphenol A, which may be found in plastic bottles, kitchenware, DVDs and other plastics, may have problems conceiving later in life.
The study was conducted on mice that were given different doses of the chemical to yield results. Mice that were given the chemical after being born had no problem conceiving early in their reproductive lives, but were less likely to successfully reproduce later on in their lives.
They also gave birth to smaller litters later on.
According to H. Tak Cheung, director emeritus for the School of Biological Sciences, mice have a reproductive system that is very similar to humans with minor differences. He believes what is found in mice will give clues to what will happen in humans’ reproduction.
“It’s like a polyester, it’s a synthetic polycarbonate. They use it in plastic bottles for providing strength. Unfortunately, it’s the bleach from the bottle. That is why it is a concern, because it releases into the fluid or the content,” Cheung said.
The problem with BPA is that it acts as the hormone estrogen and becomes an endocrine disrupter.
“I think the research is extremely important because infertility is a huge problem in today’s society. But then, even more seriously, is that BPA has a correlation with breast cancer, cervical cancer [and] prostate cancer. The reason is because it is an endocrine disrupter and it behaves like a hormone,” Cheung said.
Besides problems with conceiving, BPA can also cause behavioral issues, developmental problems, obesity and other cancers.
The female mice that had been exposed to the lowest and highest levels of BPA during development had delivered an average of 50 pups, which was 25 percent fewer than the mothers that were not exposed to BPA, an article from MSNBC said.
However, mice that were exposed to intermediate levels of BPA did not show a decline in births as compared to the mice with very low or very high doses.
“I think it is too soon to make any specific recommendations about whether BPA is safe in some amount or not, though there are certainly some concerns about it. Thus far, the FDA has not recommended removing the chemical, but is doing more studies to determine the safety,” Dr. Jean Swearingen, medical director of Student Health Services, said.
So far, no actions have been taken to remove the chemical from products and get it off the shelves in the United States. However, Canada recently classified BPA as a toxic substance.
“The best thing to do is to ban BPA in any product. I think once the study becomes clearer, the government will act in the best interest of its citizens, and that is to ban [BPA]. This is the importance of having knowledge and doing the research,” Cheung said.
“As with any chemical product that has shown some associated health concerns, it is best to avoid any overexposure, at least until more information is known,” Swearingen said.
For those concerned, Cheung suggested finding information about what kind of plastic will contain BPA.
He explained there are products out there that will say specifically whether they contain BPA or not. He also suggests not drinking out of a plastic water bottle and finding a plastic bottle that can be trusted.