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Plastics Chemical BPA Tied to Poor Sperm Quality
Date:10/28/2010

THURSDAY, Oct. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Men with high amounts of the controversial plastics chemical bisphenol-A (BPA) in their urine also tend to have impaired semen quality, a new study of factory workers in China reveals.

The research, funded by the U.S. National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, found high urine levels of BPA to be significantly associated with a drop in sperm concentration, overall sperm count, sperm vitality and sperm motility.

Although prior work with mice and rats had uncovered troubling associations between BPA exposure and damage to the male reproductive system, the current finding is the first drawn from research involving people.

"Compared with men without detectable urine BPA, those with detectable urine BPA had more than three times the risk of lowered sperm concentration and lower sperm vitality, more than four times the risk of a lower sperm count, and more than twice the risk of lower sperm motility," study lead author Dr. De-Kun Li, a reproductive and perinatal epidemiologist at Kaiser Permanente's Division of Research in Oakland, Calif., said in a news release from the organization.

BPA was not found, however, to have an impact upon either the shape of sperm or its volume, Li noted.

Li and his colleagues report their observations Oct. 28 in the journal Fertility and Sterility.

BPA is commonly found in industrial settings involved in the manufacturing of a wide array of items including baby bottles, plastic containers, food and beverage container linings, and even dental sealants.

Responding to recent reports, in January the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and other U.S. health agencies pledged $30 million toward short- and long-term research aimed at clarifying the health effects of the chemical.

The current report is the third released by Li and his team over the past year. Their first study indicated that exposure to high amoun
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