50% Possible Drop in Successful IVF After Increased BPA Exposure

January 5, 2011 by  
Filed under Health

I know I have mentioned the problems with BPA before, but if you know anyone undertaking IVF then please pass this on to them. A study by the University of California, San Francisco, has identified the first evidence in women that exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) may compromise the quality of a woman’s eggs.

Undertaking IVF (in vitro fertilization) can be a physically and emotionally challenging time and now it seems there may be a new factor to also take into consideration. The scientists found that when blood levels of BPA in the women studied doubled, the percentage of eggs that fertilized normally declined by 50 percent

I have previously highlighted the increasing concern about the negative effects of BPA on health and this is an additional reason to avoid it wherever possible. BPA is a synthetic chemical and environmental contaminant that is widespread and found particularly in plastics. It fundamentally disrupts the body’s endocrine system and when absorbed into the body either mimics or blocks hormones and interferes with the body’s normal functions.

Professor Victor Y. Fujimoto, MD, of the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences and the Center for Reproductive Health at the University said:
“While preliminary, the data indicate the negative effect of BPA on reproductive health and the importance of allocating more funding to further investigate why such environmental contaminants might be disrupting fertility potential.”

It also impacts women who may not be undergoing IVF but are trying, or wanting, to start a family. Obviously this negative impact on the quality of eggs affects all women and it makes sense to factor this in when creating the ideal conditions to start a family.
BPA exposure is widespread in the industrialised world and even a modest effect on reproduction is of substantial concern. Unfortunately, at this time there is no clinically-available test to determine BPA levels in women so undertaking a healthy approach to both diet and lifestyle.

For more information on BPA, an excellent resource is an alliance of partners led by the UCSF Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment who launched an online resource called Toxic Matters to help consumers make smarter decisions about substances that can harm general and reproductive health.

The brochure and web page include tips on reducing exposure to metals and synthetic chemicals in everyday life — at home, at work, and in the community — and provide links to other sources with more detailed information. The website is available at http://prhe.ucsf.edu/prhe/toxicmatters.html

Bisphenol A Link to Dental Treatment Problems

September 20, 2010 by  
Filed under Childrens Health, Health, Medical Research & Studies

The danger of BPA is something I have highlighted previously in other newsletters, particularly in relation to children, and now there appears to be yet another cause for concern relating to dental treatment. BPA was originally produced for use as a synthetic hormone in 1936 and today is most commonly used as the building block of polycarbonate plastic for products such as baby bottles and water bottles, epoxy resins (coatings that line food containers), and white dental sealants. It is also an additive in other types of plastic used to make children’s toys.

To date there is extensive scientific literature reporting adverse effects of BPA at doses lower than the current level considered safe by U.S. EPA, a high rate of leaching of BPA from food and beverage containers, and evidence that the median BPA level in humans is higher than the level that causes adverse effects in lab studies.

Children are Most at Risk:

Growing children are particularly at risk to chemicals in their environment because they face greater exposure per pound of body weight and are physiologically more susceptible to them. Children’s exposures begin at conception, as chemicals, including BPA, cross the placenta in a pregnant woman’s body and can affect the embryo or foetus during critical periods of development.

Now there is even greater cause for concern as, according to researchers from Mount Sinai School of Medicine, bisphenol A (BPA) is also released from some plastic resins used in dentistry. They found that this is detectable in the saliva after used during routine dental treatment and among the many risks associated with BPA are changes in behaviour, urinary tract development, and early onset of puberty. Adults of course are not immune either as prostate problems are also associated with BPA.

This study was carried out in the USA where children often have their teeth sealed with a dental resin containing BPA to prevent cavities, and it is often used for fillings. Although they point out that exposure to dental treatment is much less common than children being exposed to BPA in everyday food containers for example it is still a cause for concern. Indeed, they go further and as a further precaution urge that resins containing BPA should not be used on pregnant women.

Babies at Risk from Exposure to Bisphenol A in Plastic Feeding Bottles

April 21, 2010 by  
Filed under Childrens Health


The hormonally active substance bisphenol A is contained in many synthetic and packaging materials and can disrupt the body’s endocrine system. It can find its way into the food chain and the human organism and a new study appears to show that babies who are fed with polycarbonate bottles are especially at risk.

Bisphenol A (BPA) is the key element in polycarbonate synthetics and epoxy resins and you will find it in most plastic everyday objects from baby bottles and food packaging to the coating used in food and drink cans and to seal drinking water pipelines and can be harmful even in small doses

BPA acts like the natural hormone estrogen and as an anti-androgen and it can affect sexual development, especially in boys. Based on toxicological studies, the European Food Safety Authority has established a limit for the acceptable daily intake of BPA: currently 50 micrograms per kilogram of body weight. “However, the limit doesn’t include the studies on the hormonal impact of bisphenol A, which are often difficult to interpret,” says Natalie von Götz, a scientist from the Institute of Chemistry and Bioengineering.

Her studies indicated that babies and infants absorb the most BPA and that those fed using PC bottles are the worst affected. On average they were taking in 0.8 micrograms of BPA per kilogram of body weight via bottles and although this amount is well below the statutory minimum, von Götz says that the latest studies on rats have shown that even low doses can have a harmful impact on their development.

The exposure declines with age, although the study also shows that it depends on the kind of diet or lifestyle you have. If your diet includes a lot of canned food, or ready meals in PC containers reheated n the microwave then you are being exposed to a comparatively higher dosage of BPA.

There is no need to panic, as more research is certainly needed in the packaging field, but keeping an eye on your personal intake would be a good move and if bottle feeding a baby then old fashioned glass and heating milk outside the microwave would seem to be a safer option.

Heart disease risk for women increased with exposure to plastic food containers

July 16, 2009 by  
Filed under Womens Health


New research presented in Washington in June has shown that exposure to bisphenol A (BPA)– a chemical found ion plastics – causes abnormal heart activity in women. It is the oestrogen receptors that are responsible for this effect in heart muscle cells.

BPA is an environmental pollutant with oestrogen activity, and is used to make hard, clear plastic and is commonly used in many plastic food containers, including water bottles.

Even low doses of BPA markedly increased the frequency of arrhythmic events the researchers found and it was made worse when exposed to estradiol, the major oestrogen hormone in women.

BPA is already linked to neurological defects, diabetes and breast and prostate cancer.

Plastic Problems

October 26, 2008 by  
Filed under Health, Medical Research & Studies

Plastics are one of those wonderful technical breakthroughs that have proved a huge boon – but we are starting to see the downside, particularly for health. We now have plastic products all around us and as well as being bad for the environment, they do you no favours either. Don’t think you are affected? Do you have a DVD or computer and have any plastic kitchen appliances? Do you wear spectacles or have contact lenses, use reusable plastic containers for your water on the move or use plastic feeding bottles for your baby? Plastics are used in construction materials, paints, as well as in linings for food and drink cans. You literally cannot avoid them.

The health culprit is Bisphenol A, (BPA), an organic chemical which is the essential basic building block for high performance polymer plastics and coatings. Scientists first synthesized it in the late 1800s and just 40 years later it was found to have oestrogenic properties which we now know are linked to cancer. Scientists continued to develop ways to use BPA in making plastic containers and resins that now line most food and soft drink cans.

The problem is that BPA polymer decays over time, so traces of the synthetic oestrogen are released into canned foods, water in plastic bottles and even baby formulas and the dummies and plastic cutlery that children are often given. Research continued into the effects of BPA on animals, and the results showed reproductive and hormone-related problems. It wasn’t at this stage being tested on humans, but the use of plastics was becoming increasingly popular.

In the updated 2008 Risk Assessment Report on BPA published last June, the European Commission concluded that products made from BPA, were safe for consumers and the environment when used as intended. Worldwide, that has been the conclusion of other regulatory bodies including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.

So everything is ok – except that it isn’t. In September, in the Journal of the American Medical Association they published a study which concluded that high urinary BPA concentrations might be linked to increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and abnormal concentrations of liver enzymes. Is this relevant? Well, according to a Columbia University scientist, more than 90% of Americans have detectable levels of BPA in their urine and I don’t imagine we are that far behind in the UK.

The Journal’s editorial does not hold out any hope of things changing in the near future. They said: “One factor that may be contributing to the refusal of regulatory agencies to take action on BPA in the face of overwhelming evidence of harm from animal studies…is an aggressive disinformation campaign using techniques (‘manufactured doubt’) first developed by the lead, vinyl, and tobacco industries to challenge the reliability of findings published by independent scientists.”

That’s fairly clear, and once again the responsibility for taking care of our health and wellbeing is placed squarely back on the individual’s shoulders. A simple first step is just to eliminate the use of plastics wherever possible, particularly for children, so buy bottled water in glass containers and avoid canned food. China, glass and metal containers offer you a safer alternative for your food and drink so pack away the picnic plates and upgrade to the china ones!

Risk of baby bottles – FDA keeps quiet

Information from the USA claims that plastics used in baby bottle feeders which contain the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) may cancer and diabetes. This is obviously a major concern but what is even more worrying is that America’s health regulator – The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – has been suspected of sitting on the data and may be subpoenaed to release records about the safety of the bottles and infant formula liners.

The FDA has claimed the products are safe, but critics claim this is based on just two studies, which were both funded by the American Plastics Council – and you may be forgiven for thinking they would say that wouldn’t they? Only one of the studies was ever published and peer reviewed and many independent studies into BPA have linked the chemical to cancer, diabetes and obesity. Bart Stupak, a member of the Committee on Energy and Commerce that is considering the subpoena, said: “While many scientists have raised concerns about the safety of bisphenol A, the FDA seems to have relied only upon science paid for by the plastics industry’s lobbying group.”