Wednesday, November 11, 2009 (Health.com) – Bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical found in hard, clear plastic to make everything from baby bottles to food packaging, may increase the risk of erectile dysfunction and other sexual problems in male factory workers exposed for large quantities of the substance, according to a study conducted in China.
The health effects of BPA hot have been discussed, although some studies have linked BPA a risk for brain damage, birth defects, hyperactivity, heart disease, early puberty, obesity and prostate cancer, other research suggests that the low level of exposure from plastic does not pose a health risk for adults. (The picture is less clear for children.)
Part of the problem is that much of the research has been conducted on mice and other animals, and its application in humans is controversial. Although not conclusive, the potential health effects caused some baby bottles and water-bottle manufacturers to stop using the chemical, at least in part because of public concern. (BPA is not in the soft, pliable plastic that is used in most water bottles).
Now for the new study, one of the first to be implemented in man-seems support a finding previously reported only in animal experiments.
Among the men who work with BPA, the risk of having difficulty ejaculating was seven times greater than it was among the non-exposed group, and the risk of erectile dysfunction were more than four times larger. The BPA-exposed also reported higher low sex drive and lower overall satisfaction with their sex lives, according to the study, published this week in Human Reproduction and funded by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health.
The researchers compared the rates of sexual dysfunction in two groups of workers in China-230 men who worked in factories that produce or BPA epoxy resin (containing the chemical), and about 400 men, including workers in other industries, which were not exposed to abnormally high levels of BPA. Epoxy resin is used in the lining of canned food and is another possible source of BPA in addition to hard, clear plastic.
source : www.health.com
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