Plastic Bottle Chemical BPA Linked to Oviarian Cysts, Testicular Damage

Two new studies suggest that side effects of the plastic bottle chemical bisphenol A (BPA) could adversely affect both the male and female reproductive systems. 

Scientists gathering at The Endocrine Society’s 92nd Annual Meeting in San Diego unveiled research that suggests the possibility that BPA could cause ovarian cysts in women and could damage testicular functions in men. The two studies are the latest in a growing body of evidence suggesting that there are BPA health risks.

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.

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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.

One study presented at the conference focused on BPA levels in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which causes women to develop multiple ovarian cysts. PCOS can increase the risk of infertility, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Researchers from the University of Athens Medical School in Greece found that women with PCOS tended to have higher levels of BPA in their bloodstream than women without PCOS.

Another study, conducted on male rats, indicates that exposure to BPA in the womb and through breastfeeding can cause long-term testicular damage and dysfunction. Rats who had been exposed to high levels of BPA in the womb produced less testosterone throughout their life.

In January, the FDA recommended that parents take “reasonable steps” to reduce infant exposure to BPA. The FDA is conducting a health risk review of BPA, despite having deemed the material safe previously. The BPA re-evaluation was started in June 2009 after the agency received substantial criticism from outside groups, politicians and its own scientists.

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