- We’ve heard a lot of concerning news about the chemical Bisphenol-A, BPA, in our food supply and how it can have adverse effects on our health, especially for toddlers. A new study raises yet another alarm over BPA — this time on the effects of sperm count and quality. The study found a relationship between BPA levels in urine and decreased sperm concentrations. You’re likely already concerned about your child’s direct exposure to BPA, but now do you need to think about your (or your husband’s) exposure, too?
The study was conducted by researchers from the Harvard and Michigan Schools of Public Health along with the Massachusetts General Hospital and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In the study published by the medical journal Reproductive Toxicology, 190 participants gave urine and sperm samples, and 78 men gave follow up samples. The results showed that 89 percent of all urine samples had detectable levels of BPA. The researchers found that samples with higher concentrations also had a correspondingly lower sperm count. Those with the highest levels of BPA had sperm counts on average 23 percent lower than those with the lowest BPA levels and highest sperm count. The study further suggested a increase of 10 percent in DNA damage resulting from elevated BPA levels.
It should be stressed that the study used a relatively small sample on a short timescale. Other influences such as age, lifestyle, and location will need to be addressed in ongoing studies to confirm the results. Animal studies have had similar results, and knowing the overall risks associated with BPA, prospective parents should be very cautious with their consumption habits.
What You Can Do
You’ve probably thrown out (or better yet, recycled) your plastic refillable water bottles and unsafe resusable water bottles already. You can also greatly reduce your exposure to BPA by avoiding canned foods and food that comes in in No 7 and No 3 plastics. While we certainly hope that the FDA sees the writing on the wall and has an outright ban of Bisphenol A for all food grade items and children’s products, until then, parents may want to take extreme caution during inception and the early years of their child development.