Chinese factory worker study suggests more potential hazards from the plastics chemical
WEDNESDAY, Nov. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Exposure to high levels of the controversial plastics chemical bisphenol A (BPA) significantly raised the risk of sexual dysfunction, including impotence and low sex drive, among Chinese factory workers, a new study has found.
The researchers stressed that the workers were exposed to BPA levels about 50 times higher than what most Chinese or Americans would be exposed to in everyday life.
Even so, they said the study adds to a growing body of research that shows that the ubiquitous chemical may be harmful to humans. BPA, used to make polycarbonate plastic (hard, clear plastic) and epoxy resin, is found in electronic and medical equipment, cars, sports safety equipment, and food and drink containers, including plastic bottles and the lining of cans.
"We found that male workers who had high exposure to BPA in the workplace had a much higher risk of male sexual dysfunction compared to other workers in the same city who were matched for age and other factors," said lead study author Dr. De-Kun Li, a reproductive and perinatal epidemiologist at Kaiser Permanente's Division of Research in Oakland, Calif. "A caveat here is those workers did have a much higher BPA exposure than most Americans or Chinese in the general population."
The study is published in the Nov. 11 online edition of Human Reproduction.
In the study, Li and colleagues examined 230 workers in four Chinese factories near Shanghai that either manufactured BPA or used BPA to manufacture epoxy resin. The men worked as packagers, technical supervisors, laboratory technicians and maintenance workers.
The workers were compared to 404 workers in factories that made products ranging from textiles to machinery, in which there was no heightened BPA exposure. The workers from the two groups were matched b
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