Studies say BPA exposure may affect fertility

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Pregnancy Bisphenol a Bpa

Bisphenol A (BPA) could prevent successful in vitro fertilization, or the ability of embryos to attach to the uterus, according to presentations at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine's (ASRM) annual meeting.

BPA is a chemical used in certain packaging materials such as polycarbonates for water bottles, drinks and baby food bottles. It is also used in epoxy resins for internal protective linings for canned goods and metal lids.

Concerns have arisen over the chemical since it has been found to migrate in small amounts into foods and beverages stored in the materials and some recent animal studies have indicated that high levels of BPA could be carcinogenic.

The Washington Post reports that participants at the ASRM meeting this week in San Francisco heard about the findings of research from scientists based at the University of California.


Dr Lusine Aghajanova exposed uterine cells obtained from healthy women to BPA in a range of doses found in the US population.

She said that her findings suggest that BPA can interfere with further development of uterine cells and the way they change in preparation for possible pregnancy, and that exposure to BPA may prevent the embryo from attaching to the uterus.

Meanwhile, a second presentation revealed the outcome of another study, also by researchers at the University of California.

The scientists involved measured levels of BPA in people going through their first cycle of in vitro fertilization (IVF) and found that 93 per cent of the 41 women studied had measurable BPA levels, while 81 per cent of the 31 men in the group had quantifiable levels of the chemical.

The researchers found there was a small trend among women with measurable BPA levels not to become pregnant.

US regulator criticised

Earlier this month, an advisory board to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said that the agency ignored evidence that suggested that BPA in baby bottles and formula cans could be damaging to children.

The Science Board, which is made up of independent experts and advises the FDA commissioner on scientific and technical matters, voted to approve earlier recommendations made by its BPA subcommittee.

The subcommittee concluded that the margins of safety in the FDA draft assessment on BPA in regard to the risks of infant exposure to the chemical were “inadequate​.”

The FDA’s assessments of the food packaging component had “important limitations,” ​said the report.

The assessment procedure “…lacks an adequate number of infant formula samples and relies on mean values rather than accounting for the variability in samples,”​ it said.

Also, the assessment would be strengthened by considering the effects of cumulative exposures and differential risks in infants.

The review group criticized the FDA for dismissing several government and academic studies in its draft assessment on the basis of their not meeting the standard of ‘good laboratory practices.’

The panel said that several studies of effects of BPA on adult humans and animal species that were published after the draft assessment was finished should be considered for inclusion in the final FDA assessment on the chemical.

Related topics Food Safety & Quality

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