In another presentation, Dr. Shelley Ehrlich of the Harvard School of Public Health and colleagues found that exposure to BPA did not affect semen quality. The researchers looked at BPA levels in the semen of 71 men and evaluated the quality of the semen.
Paulson said this finding was "reassuring, although the authors do caution that the study was small, and the results should be considered preliminary."
Commenting on these two studies, Dr. Hugh S. Taylor, director of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at the Yale University School of Medicine, noted that the findings didn't reach the level of statistical significance.
"This is not where I suspected to find the defects related to BPA," Taylor said. "BPA seems more powerful as a developmental toxicant," he said, referring to fetal and early childhood development.
In the third study, Dr. Lusine Aghajanova, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, San Francisco, exposed uterine cells obtained from healthy women to BPA in a range of doses found in the U.S. population.
"We observed that even short-term exposure of those uterine cells to BPA significantly decreases the division of cells," Aghajanova said. "Moreover, our data suggest that BPA can interfere with further development of uterine cells and the way they change in preparation for possible pregnancy."
Exposure to BPA may prevent the embryo from attaching to the uterus, Aghajanova said.
Previous animal experiments have suggested that BPA may mimic the female sex hormone estrogen. The worry has been that exposure to the chemical can cause birth defects and developmental problems in children.
Exposure to BPA also has been suspected of causing a variety of other health problems, including cancer, diabetes, obesity and attention-deficit disorder. BPA exposure can occur through direct contact w
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