The conclusion of a five year study completed by researchers at Kaiser Permanente and published in Fertility and Sterility links BPA to poor quality sperm.
BPA or Bisphenol-A is a chemical found in common household plastics like food cans and plastic bottles. The study included 514 workers in a Chinese factory. BPA levels were measured in urine samples from the participants. When urine samples tested high for BPA, participants were up to 4 times more likely to suffer from poor quality sperm. Poor quality also included poor motility, concentration and vitality. Lowered sperm count was also noted in participants with higher BPA levels in urine. Despite the poor quality of sperm, there were no effects on volume of semen, shape of sperm or structure of sperm.
Lead author Dr. De-Kun Li has participated in two other studies investigating the effect of BPA on sperm and male fertility. In other studies, BPA was linked to reduced sexual function in men. Researchers believe BPA works to disrupt the effects of the human endocrine system. This means BPA would affect reproductive systems in both men and women.
Continued research will follow as researchers are trying to fill in the missing information the Food and Drug Administration requires to issue a more stringent warning about BPA use or to pull all plastics containing BPA from the market.
This study was relatively small, but researchers believe the effects will be reproduced in larger studies with the same focus.
Source: De-Kun Li, ZhiJun Zhou, Maohua Miao, Yonghua He, JinTao Wang, Jeannette Ferber, Lisa J. Herrinton, ErSheng Gao, Wei Yuan. Fertility and Sterility. 29 October, 2010.