Bisphenol-A (BPA), an endocrine disruptor common in plastics, canned goods and thermal register receipts, is being pointed to as a leading cause of rising rates of male infertility.
That’s the finding of a recent study, published in the current issue of the journal PLOS Genetics—research that builds on previous studies on the recent increase in male infertility.
In the recent study, mice were briefly exposed to BPA at birth. “Once the mice were sexually mature, the scientists examined the animals’ testes and measured sperm count,” reports Newsweek. “In exposed males, sperm count was significantly lowered in two out of three mice strains tested.”
The researchers also transplanted some stem cells related to sperm production from the BPA-exposed mice into unexposed mice. The reduced sperm count was still noted in the otherwise healthy subjects.
“The scientists concluded that the sperm-making cells themselves had been permanently disrupted by their early-life exposure to BPA,” Newsweek explains.
According to the research, BPA permanently alters “the way germ cells carry out the delicate process of DNA copying and splicing,” Newsweek explained, pointing to the recent trend of declining sperm counts. Also of concern, the researchers noted that the affected stem cells responsible for sperm production may be passed down through families.
The study’s findings come just as the European Union ruled that current levels of BPA most people are exposed to are safe and the FDA recently made a similar statement, dismissing petitions to increase regulations on the use of the chemical.
Still, many manufacturers are voluntarily removing BPA from products to satisfy concerned consumers. But recent studies show that BPA alternatives, such as bisphenol-S (BPS), may actually be more harmful to the developing human brain than BPA.
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