The BPA and Infertility Link
Are researchers certain that BPA and infertility are linked? Not necessarily, since most people exposed to BPA have not become infertile. Still, BPA, also called Bisphenol-A, has received a lot of bad press lately. Currently, some human studies associate BPA with fertility problems, while others do not. If you use plastics, eat packaged or canned foods, or drink out of water bottles, you have probably been exposed to BPA. Read on to find out if you should be worried.
BPA and your health
Does BPA increase our risk for fertility problems? Experts with RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association and at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration express their concerns. Both organizations share research findings claiming that BPA exposure can increase health and fertility problems in humans. BPA is an endocrine disruptor, which means that it can affect your endocrine system health and alter the ways your hormones work. Studies at the National Institutes of Health demonstrate that BPA has the potential to cause health problems related to:
- The brain
- The prostate gland
- The mammary gland
BPA exposure has also been linked to early puberty in females, but females are not the only ones at risk. The chemical can cause fertility problems for men too. Since it alters and disrupts male hormones, it can affect sperm health.
Bad for mice, bad for humans?
Are you trying to limit your contact with BPA? Unfortunately even low doses of BPA might be problematic for your fertility. At Tufts University, Dr. Ana Soto and her team studied the reproductive health of mice exposed to low levels of BPA. They compared the number of pups born to exposed mice and non-exposed mice throughout the lifespan. The results were significant. BPA-exposed mice gave birth to fewer pups and showed a steady decline in their fertility over time. If humans respond similarly, BPA could be problematic for females that delay pregnancy and childbirth until later in life. Even if low levels of BPA are not a concern for humans, it is still possible that repeat exposures may cause harm in the long run.
Three easy ways to reduce your exposure to BPA
In recent years many manufacturers have taken steps to remove BPA from products on the shelves. Even government agencies recommend reducing your exposure to BPA. To take action, try these strategies:
- Avoid microwaving plastics and use paper towels, instead of plastic wrap, to cover food in the microwave.
- Choose packaged foods only when necessary. Opt for fresh foods as much as possible. Studies show that reducing your contact with food containers and eating a diet of primarily fresh foods limits your exposure to BPA.
- When plastic storage containers start to wear out, consider replacing them with glass.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and National Institutes of Health have spoken out about BPA. The organizations acknowledge that they have "some concern" about the possible negative health effects of BPA. Keep in mind that the FDA continues to state that we do not know for certain whether BPA causes long-term health problems, but the public should be educated about its possible threat to our health and fertility.Sources
Environmental Health Perspectives: Perinatal Exposure to Environmentally Relevant Levels of Bisphenol A Decreases Fertility and Fecundity in CD-1 Mice
Fertility and Sterility: Urine bisphenol-A (BPA) level in relation to semen quality
RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association: The Impact of Environmental Factors, Body Weight & Exercise on Fertility
U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Public Health Focus