-- Robert Preidt
THURSDAY, Aug. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Exposure to the plastics
chemical bisphenol A (BPA) can affect men's testosterone levels, a
new study has found.
BPA is used in a large number of consumer products, including
food and drink containers. A number of countries have moved to ban
the use of the chemical in the manufacture of baby bottles and
other feeding items.
In the new study, an international team of researchers analyzed
data from 715 Italian adults, aged 20 to 74. They found that their
average BPA exposure was more than 5 micrograms per day, which is
slightly higher than recent estimates for the U.S. population.
Higher BPA exposure was statistically associated with hormone
changes in men; specifically, small increases in levels of
testosterone in the blood, according to David Melzer, professor of
epidemiology and public health at the Peninsula Medical School in
Exeter, U.K., and colleagues.
"This is the first big study of BPA from a European country and confirms that 'routine' exposures in the population are not negligible. It also shows that higher exposure to BPA is statistically associated with modest changes in levels of testosterone in men," Melzer said in a news release from Peninsula Medical School.
"This finding is consistent with the evidence from laboratory experiments. However, this is just the first step in proving that at 'ordinary' exposure levels, BPA might be active in the human body. This new evidence does justify proper human safety studies to clarify the effects of BPA in people," Melzer added.
The study was released online Aug. 25 in advance of publication
in an upcoming print issue of the journal
Environmental Health Perspectives.
Previous research has found that BPA has a similar molecular
structure to estrogen and causes disruption of sex hormone
signaling in laboratory animals. The controversial chemical has
also been linked to thyroid hormone disruption, altered pancreatic
beta-cell function (beta cells produce insulin), cardiovascular
disease and obesity, according to background information in the
The U.S. National Institutes of Health has more about
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