Exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) could reduce the chance of successful fertility treatment, according to the findings of a new study.
In a study published this month in the medical journal Environmental Health Perspectives, researchers found that women who underwent in vitro fertilization (IVF) were more likely to experience a failed implantation based on how much BPA was detected in their urine.
While the research does not establish a causal link, the dose-response relationship is a strong indicator of some association between BPA exposure and fertility treatment success, the study determined.
BPA is a synthetic chemical originally developed as an artificial form of estrogen, a female hormone. It is used in many plastic consumer products and is particularly widespread in products that are used to preserve food and drinks, such as plastic water bottles and the inner lining of canned goods.
Researchers looked at data on 137 women who underwent in vitro fertilization at the Massachusetts General Hospital Fertility Center and measured their urinary concentrations. The women underwent 180 implantation cycles in total, with 42% overall resulting in failure. However, when researchers correlated the failure rate with the rate of BPA in the urine, they found that the higher the concentration of BPA, the higher the chance of implantation failure. At the highest concentrations, women had more than twice the risk of suffering IVF implantation failure than women who had the least amount of BPA in their urine.
Exposure to BPA is suspected of causing hormonal changes by impacting the human endocrine system. It has previously been linked to cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity and asthma. Some research has suggested that BPA can cause developmental abnormalities and other problems over time in infants and young children.
In March, the FDA determined there was not enough data for the agency to change current regulations that continue to allow the use of BPA in food packaging, denying a petition to ban BPA, which was filed by the National Resource Defense Council (NRDC) in 2008.
More than a dozen class action lawsuits over BPA have failed since 2008, with most ending in dismissal primarily due to a lack of evidence.