A compound found in many plastics and cans could pose a serious danger to woman, a new report has found. The compound, bisphenol A (BPA), is routinely used to coat cans, pipes, and even cash register receipts — meaning people come into contact with it on a regular basis.
BPA was first used as a protective lining in the mid-twentieth century, or about seventy years ago. At the time there were few fears it would pose a health hazard to humans, but new research from the University of Illinois suggests it could damage the development of ovaries.
Recently, University of Illinois bioscientist Dr. Jodi Flaws examined female mice given a small dose of a BPA-laced solution. She then studied their ovaries, paying special attention to the follicles, which contain eggs.
Flaws’ discovery: those mice receiving the BPA treatment had fewer and smaller follicles, meaning they were less likely to produce healthy offspring. Flaws believes the BPA solution interfered with the enzymes and hormones that are essential in normal reproductive development.
According to University of California, San Francisco health expert Tracey Woodruff, Flaws’ research adds to growing evidence which suggests that early and frequent exposure to BPA can leave a woman infertile. “There are so many studies of BPA that it’s often difficult to weed out the real effects,” Woodruff said. “But on this question of ovarian toxicity, all the studies are starting to line up.”
Flaws’ is hardly the only study to examine BPA’s impact on fertility. Not long ago Harvard University researchers examined the urine of women undergoing in-vitro fertilization. Their finding: four in five had BPA in their urine, suggesting that their need for in-vitro fertilization might have been tied to their exposure to the compound.