The chemical bisphenol A (BPA) is what makes plastic clear and hard. It is used for numerous consumer products, such as reusable water bottles, shampoos bottles, and storage containers. BPA is found in epoxy resins, which are substances that form a protective lining in beverage cans and metal food containers. The eggs are reproductive cells that are produced in the ovaries. Researchers have found that these cells are affected by increased BPA exposure.
BPA is a common chemical used in the consumer industry in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), BPA was found in the urine of nearly everyone tested in a 2004 analysis of the U.S. population. This chemical is considered an environmental contaminant, and many experts believe it is impacting health due to its endocrine-disrupting properties and widespread exposure.
In a study conducted by the University of California in San Francisco, researchers identified the first evidence in humans that exposure to the chemical bisphenol A could possible compromise a woman’s egg quality. The small-scale California study found that as blood levels BPA in the women doubled, the number of eggs fertilized normally decreased by 50%.
Preliminary data showed the negative effects of BPA on reproductive health, and researchers urge that it is important to allocate more funds to further investigate this chemical. Lead researcher Dr. Fujimoto insists that BPA and other environmental contaminants could be disrupting fertility potential. The study analyzed 25 women undergoing IVF in 2007-2008 at a fertility center in California. The women were a subgroup of a larger study that investigated reproductive health and toxic metals (lead, mercury, and cadmium).
In previous studies involving mouse models, BPA levels were found to alter the DNA of eggs. In one 2010 study involving humans, BPA urinary concentrations were found to be inversely associated with the number of eggs fertility specialist retrieved during IVF cycles. According to Fujimoto, there is no clinical test available to determine BPA levels in humans. He urges that women considering IVF treatment to reduce their exposure to BPA through diet and lifestyle. This study shows a clear link between egg health, egg, DNA, and BPA exposure.
BPAs are also linked to recurrent miscarriages, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) levels in men. Some experts theorize that BPAs have a damaging effect on DNA of sperm as well. Both herbicides and pesticides have been linked to declining sperm count over the last five decades. These chemical products are made from petroleum, which is one of the raw ingredients used to manufacture BPA.
Tips for Avoiding BPA Exposure
- Stop drinking bottled water. The bottles leak xenohormones into the water. These chemicals mimic estrogen, and this can affect fertility and cause hormone imbalances. Alternatives are glass bottles of water and using other containers for the water.
- Avoid plastic items made with BPA. This includes plates, cups, and cookware. The number on the bottle of the plastic item alerts you to which ones to avoid. Numbers 3, 6, and 7 are harmful.
- Avoid vinyl shower curtains. Instead, use curtains made from natural fibers, nylon, or polyester.
- Store food in glass, food-safe metal, or ceramic containers. If you need plastic, avoid numbers 3, 6, and 7.
- Avoid heating food using plastic wrap or containers. Heat increases the risk for chemicals leaching out of the plastic and into the foods.
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