January 23, 2015
I've got a cousin who is a real hippie. Not the type who smokes pot and drives a car with a "fight the dominant paradigm" bumper sticker, but the real kind. The kind that doesn't have a car, cures everything with tea tree oil, makes her own clothes, and dreams of living off the grid. However, she's not off the grid now and is, somewhat surprisingly, on Facebook. She recently posted a link to an article about bisphenol A on cash register receipts. That's why she uses Facebook - to alert us to our own decay.
Anyway, she is lovely and probably right about the terrible things she warns us about. In any case, does bisphenol exposure matter?
Bisphenol A is a chemical found in plastics: liners of cans, dental implants, cash register receipts, plastic bottles, and a million other places. A US group randomly screened about 500 people to see if they have bisphenol A in their bodies and 90% of them did. So, nearly everyone is exposed to it. It seems scary but does it matter? Bisphenol A binds to several different types of receptors in our bodies. One of those receptor types is the estrogen receptor; bisphenol A acts like a weak estrogen compound. It's about 1000 times weaker than the main estrogen in our bodies. Bisphenol A has been examined in couples with infertility. The following findings are of concern:
Women with high bisphenol A levels had 12% fewer eggs during IVF.
Women with high bisphenol A levels undergoing IVF treatment had lower pregnancy rates.
Men with high bisphenol A levels have fewer motile sperm.
You can't have your bisphenol A levels tested outside a study. You can assume you have some bisphenol A in your body, though. Everyone, infertile or not, should minimize exposure to bisphenol A as it not only impacts reproductive function but also the risk of obesity, prostate enlargement, cancer, and hyperactivity. Avoid plastics with recycling code 3 or 7, cracked plastics, or any plastic that might have bisphenol A. Also, avoid cash register receipts as they have bisphenol A on their coating.
My hippy cousin is worth listening to, it seems.
Machtinger R, Orvieto R. "Bisphenol A, Oocyte Maturation, Implantation, and IVF Outcome: Review of Animal and Human Data." Reprod Biomed Online. 2014 Oct;29(4):404-10.
Lassen TH, Frederiksen H, Jensen TK, Petersen JH, Joensen UN, Main KM, Skakkebaek NE, Juul A, JÌürgensen N, Andersson AM. "Urinary Bisphenol A Levels inYoung Men: Association with Reproductive Hormones and Semen Quality." Environ Health Perspect. 2014;122:478-84
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