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BPA and Fertility

Nov 17, 2008 | Parker Waichman LLP

Bisphenol A, commonly referred to as BPA, that ubiquitous, estrogenic chemical that has long been making headlines and has been written about by us for some time, may affect also human reproduction, according to one of some new recent research reports, says MedicineNet.com’s HealthDay News.  BPA is found in a wide variety of consumer and children’s products, including baby bottles, the linings of food cans, and some sport drink bottles.  An industrial chemical, BPA is used to harden plastics.

In one report presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, researchers state that BPA could adversely affect successful vitro fertilization, or the ability of embryos to attach to the uterus, said HealthDay news.  "The issue of environmental toxicants upon human reproduction is very important," said Dr. Richard J. Paulson, chief of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, who was not involved in the studies, but was quoted in the HealthDay News report.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has long maintained—in the face of overwhelming contradiction—that BPA was safe for use by humans; however, in October, an FDA advisory panel conceded that the FDA was in error and stated it would likely initiate research early next year to investigate the “toxic effects of BPA on babies less than one-month-old,” reported HeathDay.  

In a report developed by a team led by Dr. Julie Lamb, of the University of California, San Francisco, levels of BPA in people going through their first cycle of in vitro fertilization (IVF) were measured and revealed that 93 percent of the 41 women studied had measurable BPA levels in their bodies and that 82 percent of the 31 men measured “quantifiable” BPA levels, according to HealthDay, which also stated that the research also revealed that some women with “measurable” BPA levels were unable to conceive.  Another study, presented by Dr. Shelley Ehrlich of the Harvard School of Public Health and colleagues, revealed that while BPA exposure did not seem to affect semen quality in 71 men studied, the “study was small, and the results should be considered preliminary,” said Paulson in HealthDay’s piece.  Dr. Hugh S. Taylor, director of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at the Yale University School of Medicine, pointed out to HealthDay that, "BPA seems more powerful as a developmental
toxicant.

HealthDay also reported that a third study, conducted by Dr. Lusine Aghajanova, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, San Francisco, found BPA-exposed “uterine cells obtained from healthy women” in an array of doses among the U.S. population.”  Aghajoanova was quoted in HealthDay as saying, "We observed that even short-term exposure of those uterine cells to BPA significantly decreases the division of cells.   Moreover, our data suggest that BPA can interfere with further development of uterine cells and the way they change in preparation for possible pregnancy,” adding that BPA exposure may inhibit the ability of an “embryo from attaching to the uterus.”

In recent months, reports and studies have revealed BPA’s links to a wide variety of adverse health issues such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, obesity, behavioral and neurological problems, developmental disturbances, hormonal maladies, and liver function test and chemotherapy interruptions, to name just some.


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