Exposure to BPA Increases Testosterone Levels in Men: Study
A new study by European researchers adds to the debate about the dangers associated with exposure to BPA (bisphenol A), a chemical that is used in many plastic consumer products, finding that it may cause men to have increased levels of testosterone.
The research was published this month in the medical journal Environmental Health Perspectives. Although the increased testosterone levels were within the range considered to be normal, prior studies have suggested that elevated testosterone levels could be linked to some forms of cancer and heart disease. However, the study did not link BPA to any ailments or diseases.
Researchers looked at 715 men and women from Italy and found that men who had the highest levels of BPA also had high amounts of testosterone.
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BPA is used to make many plastic products hard and shatterproof. Originally developed as a form of synthetic estrogen, it is used in the manufacture of many consumer products, such as bottles, cups, can liners, baby products and other food containers.
Exposure to BPA is suspected of causing hormonal changes by impacting the human endocrine system. It has also been linked to cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Some research has suggested that BPA side effects can cause developmental abnormalities and other problems over time in infants and young children.
The researchers concluded that BPA exposure could be causing endocrine changes in men, but how the chemical is making those testosterone changes in men is not exactly clear, and more research needs to be done.
Earlier this year, the FDA recommended that parents take “reasonable steps” to reduce infant exposure to BPA. The federal regulatory agency is currently conducting a re-evaluation of the safety of BPA, after previously indicating that exposure to the levels used in consumer products is safe. The new review was initiated in June 2009 after the FDA received substantial criticism from outside groups, politicians and its own scientists.
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