A potential threat to male fertility
BPA is an industrial chemical that has been used to make durable plastics for more than 40 years. The chemical is found in polycarbonate plastics often used in containers that are used to store food and beverages – such as plastic bowls and water bottles etc.
It is also found in plastic plates, safety equipment, motor vehicle spares, dental and medical equipment, and hundreds of other products. BPA hardens the plastic and makes many of the products impact resistant, especially those that may be dropped or banged around.
In 2008, studies showed that BPA was also used in the manufacture of baby feeding bottles. After a huge outcry from worried parents, this practice was vetoed by the US Food and Drug Administration. Fortunately, although the hard-outer part of the pacifiers (dummies) contained BPA, the teat babies sucked on did not.
Extensive research in the US revealed that about 90% of the population has a measurable amount of BPA in their body. This does not mean that your health is at risk, but over time it can build up, and further studies showed that its toxic action appears to have a negative effect on the male reproductive system, impacting on fertility.
How male sexuality is affected by BPA
BPA has been described as a chemical that potentially disrupts the hormonal system of the body, leading to sex problems for men. These include a lower sex drive, a measure of erectile dysfunction, less satisfaction during sex, and during the survey, many reported problems with ejaculation. These issues refer to men who may have a build-up of BPA over time. Studies have shown that BPA lingers in the body, usually stored in fat tissue, at levels that may fluctuate, but never disappear.
Research has determined that BPA mimics estrogen in the body, and also reduces the production of testosterone, all of which throws the entire male reproductive system out of balance. This also impacts fertility as testosterone is essential for the production and supply of healthy sperm.
Much more research has yet to be done to establish the full extent of the damage which can potentially be caused to the male reproductive system by high levels of BPA.
How people are exposed to BPA
General exposure at low levels comes from drinking beverages and eating food out of containers that contain BPA. It is almost impossible to avoid using the BPA carbonated plastic products, as just about every single thing we touch is manufactured from plastic, with much of it containing BPA. Perhaps a good way to add protection to yourself, at least in the home, is to only use glass for eating, drinking and storing foods.
A recent study has shown that workers who manufacture products that contain BPA are at high risk. The study has indicated that these workers are up to 7 times higher to report sexual function hassles than workers who were not exposed to the BPA risk. The problems included low sex drive, erection difficulties, and less enjoyment of the sexual act.
Plastic products are in mass production all over the world, and unless scientists find another way to make plastic more durable – the BPA risk is here to stay!
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