Also see information on other toxins that affect fertility and fetal development.
BPA and Infertility
Researchers have found that a number of chemicals including BPA in canned goods, water bottles and cash register receipts, along with synthetic estrogens used in birth control pills have a negative impact on fertility - both your fertility and your child's fertility.
The plastic liners of 70% of canned goods contain BPA. Your canned goods may be causing your infertility. A new study tested canned goods and found that most of them contain BPA, bisphenol A, which is associated with a number of health problems, especially those linked to fetal development and pregnancy.
BPA is added to plastics and is found in older polycarbonate plastics used as drinking water and soda containers. Many newer plastics are BPA free, but not necessarily safe from other disruptive or carcinogenic chemicals.
The researchers found that 70% of food can liners that they tested contained BPA. Another study found BPA in 67% of cans examined. Although USDA says that BPA is safe as currently used in food packages, the Center for Disease Control finds that 93% of people who have been tested have BPA in their systems. It does not seem to leave the body and so accumulates. There are alternatives to BPA which are being phased in by some manufacturers. However some of those alternatives, polyvinyl chloride plastic and styrene, are known carcinogens.
Some chain stores, including Albertsons, Kroger and Whole Foods are reducing BPA content in their store brand. As of May, 2016, Walmart, Aldi and Target do not have plans to reduce BPA content. Some companies, such as Delmonte or Campbell soup plan to remove BPAs from can liners by 2017. Companies such as Amy's Kitchen, Annie's Homegrown, Hain Celectial Group and ConAgra have already switched to safer liners.
The safest choice is to buy fresh vegetables and fruits and grains and legumes that you cook yourself. Glass containers do not contain BPA or any other alternative plastic lining which may or may not be safe.
Cash register receipts: BPA also is found in 94% of cash register receipts that you get from the store. And clerks who daily handle these receipts are found to have higher levels of BPA in their body.
Other sources BPA has been detected in food carry-out containers, paper towels and carbonless paper products.
BPA is also now found in the air - which we cannot control - but we should pay attention to those areas that we can control.
BPA's Health Risk
BPA has been identified as a health risk, because it is an endocrine disruptor and upsets the hormonal balance governing the reproductive system. It directly impacts a number of functions which are critical for the successful progress of fertilization and pregnancy.
- Women's Infertility: The granulosa cell is partially responsible for formation of eggs (oocytes) in the ovary.
Although one study reported that BPA appears to not cause damage to granulosa cells,1 other studies do not agree. Researchers found
that BPA decreases the rate at which female egg cells develop along with various abnormalities and early egg cell death.2
- Miscarriage A recent study investigated the effect of BPA on the functioning of the uterus during early pregnancy. They found that certain
necessary functions did not take place properly leading to poor embryo implantation and establishment of pregnancy. Further, they found that the receptors for
critical hormones were impaired, and the capacity of cells of the embryo to divide properly was severely impaired.3, 7
- Men's Infertility: BPA is connected to lowered sperm count in men. According to a study published in 2016 there's a direct connection
between BPA and men's sperm levels. Using lab animals the researchers found that heightened BPA levels damaged permanently
damaged the developing reproductive system making testes unable to create germ cells or sperm cells. Another study found that BPA disrupts the
structure of the testes-blood barrier which designed to create a protected environment for developing sperm cells.4
Interestingly, there are a number of different strains of mice used in such testing. Some strains are more resistant to the damage caused by BPA. Indeed, it now appears that research that was used to prove that BPA is not a danger was simply conducted using the specific strains of mice that which are less affected by BPA.
- IVF: Researchers have associated BPA levels in women to failure of in-vitro fertilitzation.15
- Brain-Pituitary-Gonad Link: Gonads produce eggs in women and sperm cells in men. BPA has been found to disrupt the neurons responsible for
correct communication between these parts of the body which are critical for reproduction.5
- Spontaneous Abortion: Researchers report that high levels of phthalate metabolites, BPA, and nonylphenol were found in the urine of Chinese women who
were experiencing otherwise unexplained spontaneous abortions. Women with lower levels of BPA did not have the problem. 6, 7
- Insufficient Milk Supply BPA behaves like estrogen and therefore inhibits lactation. A study examined the levels of BPA in third trimester women and
their ability to breastfeed one month after birth. The researchers found that high BPA levels were associated with poor or insufficient product of breast milk. 8
- Fetal development: BPA's endocrine disruptive effect impacts the development of the reproductive and glandular systems resulting in
impaired fertility, insulin resistance and glucose intolerance. One study
focused on the structure and function of the pancrease finding both to be negatively impacted by BPA exposure.9 Low birth weight and longer pregnancy length were also
associated with BPA exposure. 10
- ADD: Additionally in children high levels of BPA (and phthaltates and lead) is associated with ADD, attention deficit disorder
and learning and behavioral problems.11, 12
- Reproductive System Cancer: BPA in the body increases the risk of breast (triple negative breast cancer cells)13 and prostate cancer.14
- Diabetes and other conditions: Other conditions affected by these hormonal imbalances and include adult-onset diabetes, weight issues, and asthma.
1. A. Mansur, et al, Does BPA alter steroid hormone synthesis in human granulosa cells in vitro?, Human Reproduction, April, 2016.
2. T. Wang, et al, The toxic effects and possible mechanisms of Bisphenol A on oocyte maturation of porcine in vitro, Oncotarget, April 2016.
3. Q. Li, et al, Chronic Exposure to Bisphenol A Affects Uterine Function During Early Pregnancy in Mice, Endocrinology, May, 2016
4. A.T. de Freitas, et al., Regulatory and junctional proteins of the blood-testis barrier in human Sertoli cells are modified by monobutyl phthalate (MBP) and bisphenol A (BPA) exposure, Toxicology in Vitro, Febuary, 2016.
5. U. Klenke, et al., BPA Directly Decreases GnRH Neuronal Activity via Noncanonical Pathway, Endocrinology, May, 2016
6. F. Peng, et al., A study on phthalate metabolites, bisphenol A and nonylphenol in the urine of Chinese women with unexplained recurrent spontaneous abortion, Environmental Research, May, 2016
] 7. Y. Shen, et al., Higher urinary bisphenol A concentration is associated with unexplained recurrent miscarriage risk: evidence from a case-control study in eastern China, PLoS One, May, 2015
8. N. Kasper-Cusick, et al., Association of Bisphenol A Exposure with Breastfeeding and Perceived Insufficient Milk Supply in Mexican Women, Maternal and Child Health, May 2016.
9. R. Whitehead, et al, Prenatal exposure to bisphenol A alters mouse fetal pancreatic morphology and islet composition, Hormone Molecular Biology and Clinical Investigation, March, 2016.
10. A. Veiga-Lopez, et al., Gender-Specific Effects on Gestational Length and Birth Weight by Early Pregnancy BPA Exposure, November 2015.
11. T.E. Arbuckle, et al., Bisphenol A, phthalates and lead and learning and behavioral problems in Canadian children 6-11 years of age: CHMS 2007-2009, Neurotoxicology, March, 2016.
12. M. Casas, et al., Exposure to bisphenol A during pregnancy and child neuropsychological development in the INMA-Sabadell cohort, Environmental Research, October, 2015
13. X.L. Zhang, et al., Bisphenol A Increases the Migration and Invasion of Triple Negative Breast Cancer Cells via Oestrogen-related Receptor Gamma, Basic Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, April 2016
14. H. J. Larn, et al., Bisphenol A Disrupts HNF4a-Regulated Gene Networks Linking to Prostate Preneoplasia and Immune Disruption in Noble Rats, Endocrinology, January 2016
15. M. Yuan, et al., Preimplantation Exposure to Bisphenol A and Triclosan May Lead to Implantation Failure in Humans, Biomed Research International, August, 2015.