Plastic 'harms male sexuality'17th November 2009
People's exposure to high levels of the controversial plastics chemical bisphenol A (BPA) can determine their levels of sexual dysfunction, according to a recent study on Chinese factory workers, whose levels of exposure were about 50 times higher than the average person's.
Many studies have already shown that the chemical, which is used to make hard plastics and epoxy resin, can be harmful to humans.
Study lead author De-Kun Li, a reproductive and perinatal epidemiologist at Kaiser Permanente's Division of Research in California, USA, said that his research team found that the factory workers had much higher levels of sexual dysfunction.
For the purposes of the study, the researchers examined 230 workers in Chinese factories near Shanghai.
Some of the factories where they worked manufactured BPA, and some of them used it in their products.
The study subjects themselves worked in all areas of the factory, including technical supervision and in the laboratories as technicians.
As a control, the researchers also studied 404 age and gender-matched factory workers whose day-to-day environment did not expose them to especially high levels of BPA.
The workers from BPA factories were fully four times more likely to have sexual dysfunction and dissatisfaction.
The men were also seven times more likely to have trouble ejaculating.
For the purposes of measuring the levels of BPA in the different factories, the researchers took samples of the air and interviewed the workers themselves.
They also took urine samples from some of the people who worked in the various factories.
They found a direct link between heightened levels of BPA exposure and sexual difficulties.
The more people were exposed to BPA, the more sexual difficulties they had.
Steven Hentges, executive director of the American Chemistry Council's Polycarbonate/BPA Global Group, who disagreed with the results of the study, said that it was important to note that the study had little relevance to average consumers who use products that contain trace levels of BPA.
Hugh Taylor, director of the division of reproductive endocrinology and infertility at Yale University School of Medicine, said that medical literature suggested that BPA had terrible consequences for human health.
He said that he told his pregnant patients to stay away from hard plastics and canned goods.
People's concern about the effects of BPA has increased in recent years, with studies in animals and humans showing that it disrupts the body.
Nearly everyone in the world, and certainly everyone in developed countries, ingests BPA on a daily basis, because most food and water exposed to plastics or other processing absorb it in one way or another.
Other studies have linked BPA to diabetes, heart arrhythmia, and cancer.
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Title: Plastic 'harms male sexuality'
Author: Luisetta Mudie
Article Id: 13273
Date Added: 17th Nov 2009