Workers in the BPA factories were four times more likely to report erectile dysfunction, reduced sexual desire and overall dissatisfaction with their sex life. They were also seven times more likely to have ejaculation difficulties.
BPA workers were also more likely to report reduced sexual function within one year of beginning employment at the factory, the researchers found.
Researchers measured BPA exposure levels by taking air samples, reviewing factory records and interviewing workers about personal hygiene habits, use of protective equipment and exposure to other chemicals. Levels of BPA in the urine was also tested for a subset of workers.
Among BPA workers, the higher the exposure, the more likely they were to have sexual difficulties.
Most human exposure to BPA occurs when the chemical leaches into food and drink from packaging. Earlier this month, Consumer Reports announced that tests showed BPA in nearly all of 19 brand-name canned foods, including soups, juice, tuna and green beans.
In recent years, concern about the effects of BPA, particularly on fetuses and young children, have been growing. Animal studies have shown that BPA can cause reproductive abnormalities in both males and females by disrupting the endocrine system, according to background information in the study.
Other research has linked BPA to an increased risk of diabetes, cancer and heart arrhythmias. Male sexual dysfunction may be an early indicator of BPA-related problems that take longer to develop, Li said.
One chemicals industry representative took issue with the findings. Steven Hentges, executive director of the American Chemistry Council's Polycarbonate/BPA Global Group, said the occupational exposure of these factory workers far exceeds what the average person would ingest. Furthermore, the study did not make clear if the factories or the worke
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