Have you opened a can of beans lately, or maybe some condensed milk for a recipe? If so, chances are you were exposed to the chemical bisphenol A (BPA). On its website, the US Food and Drug Administration admits, “some studies have raised questions” about the effect of BPA exposure on “the brain, behavior, and prostate gland in fetuses, infants, and young children.” However, the agency continues to allow the chemical to be used for lining the insides of tin and aluminum food- and beverage-product cans, as a component in plastic containers, and as an ingredient in dental sealants is still permitted.
In 2012, the agency banned the use of BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups. Additionally, in response to a petition filed last year by Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-MA), the agency published a notice on July 12 in the Federal Register, banning the use of BPA-based epoxy resins in powdered and liquid infant formula packaging. Meanwhile, the American Medical Association, which determined BPA was an endocrine-disrupting agent, has been pressing the FDA since 2011, to ensure that products containing the chemical are labeled clearly.
Research Links Fetal BPA Exposure To Cryptorchidism, Infertility.
Health experts and consumer advocacy groups who want the chemical banned from all food products cite a number of studies linking it to birth defects. For example, research presented at the Endocrine Society’s annual meeting on June 16 in San Francisco, indicated that males who were born with cryptorchidism have significantly higher levels of BPA and lower levels of the hormone insulin-like 3 in their cord blood than was found in newborns with descended testicles.
Another study presented at the conference found that BPA, which mimics the female sex hormone estrogen and has already been linked to female infertility, also causes long-term harm to the testicular function in males.
Study Associates High BPA Levels With Worsening Sexual Function
A study by researchers at Kaiser Permanente associated high BPA levels in urine with worsening male sexual function. The study team compared 427 workers at BPA-product manufacturing facilities with a control group of workers at plants that did not involve the use of BPA. They found that after five years, the workers who had high levels of BPA in their urine also reported a decrease in sexual desire, more difficulty achieving an erection, lesser ejaculation strength and a lower level of overall sexual satisfaction than those whose urine did not contain a significant amount of BPA.
Burton, T.M. (2013, July 12). FDA Bans BPA in Baby-Formula Packaging. Wall Street Journal.
De-Kun L., Zhou Z., Miao, M., et al. (2010, September-October). Relationship Between Urine Bisphenol-A Level and
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Endocrine Society. (2013, June 17). BPA Linked to a Common Birth Defect in Boys. Retrieved from
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Federal Register (2013, July 12). Indirect Food Additives: Adhesives and Components of Coatings: A Rule by the
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Goad, B. (2013, July 11). FDA bans BPA in baby formula packages. The Hill.
Thompson, D. (2013, July 17). BPA Exposure Tied to Undescended Testicles in Boys. HealthDay.
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US Food and Drug Administration. (2013, June 24). Bisphenol A (BPA): Use in Food Contact Application.
Retrieved from http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/PublicHealthFocus/ucm064437.htm.