Common Plastic Linked to Sexual Dysfunction in Men

A new study published on November 10, 2009 in the journal Human Reproduction shows a link between exposure to the plastic bisphenol-A, more commonly known as “BPA” and male sexual dysfunction. This new study shows that there is a link between BPA and male sexual dysfunction problems and raises the question about the many additional products that BPA appears in.

BPA is a building block of several important plastics and plastic additives and has been in use for over 50 years. There has been much controversy over this substance and it has been banned from baby bottles in many areas and has been voluntarily removed from many baby bottle products. However, BPA is still very prevalent in products used every day such as water bottles, and even the lining of soup cans. A test of canned soups in the December 2009 issue of Consumer Reports found levels of the chemical BPA in popular soup brands such as Campbellā€™s and Progresso were double the limit set by federal guidelines as safe. Consumer Reports’ latest tests of canned foods, included soups, juice, tuna, and green beans, and found that almost all of the 19 name-brand foods they tested contain some BPA.

Recently there has been a huge increase in the sale of drugs and natural treatments for male sexual dysfunction. However, the question is rarely raised as to why there has been an increase in this problem. This new study suggests that a commonly used plastic additive may be a culprit.

This study looked at Chinese men who were exposed to high levels of BPA in their work environment over a 5 year period. The results showed that these men were between 4 times to 7 times more likely to suffer from various sexual dysfunctional problems than the general population.

Even though the rate of exposure in these men was considerably higher than what most men would come in contact with, even lower exposures could possibly cause the same problems. In a November 11, 2009 Washington Post article, lead researcher Dr. De-kun Li of Kaiser Research Institute in Oakland, states that lower levels do not necessarily mean lower risk. Dr. Li points out that BPA not only acts like estrogen in men, but it also blocks how male hormones are supposed to work. This means that BPA may cause problems even at lower levels.

“This was a highly exposed group, and we see the effect,” Li said. “Now, we have to worry about lower-level exposure.” He continued, “Critics dismissed all the animal studies, saying, ‘Show us the human studies’. Now we have a human study, and this can’t just be dismissed.”

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