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BPA can affect egg quality, study claims

20 December 2010
Appeared in BioNews 589

US researchers have shown a correlation between human egg quality and blood bisphenol A (BPA) levels. In a small-scale study women with higher blood BPA levels showed decreased fertilisation rates when undergoing IVF treatment.

'While preliminary, the data indicate the negative effect of BPA on reproductive health and the importance of allocating more funding to further investigate why such environmental contaminants might be disrupting fertility potential', said Professor Victor Fujimoto of the University of San Francisco, who led the study.

BPA is a chemical commonly used in the production of clear, hard plastics and in epoxy resins for coating food and drinks cans. It has long been known to be an endocrine disrupter - a substance that interferes with the body's natural hormones. Consequently, the use of BPA is tightly regulated and its potential for harm assessed by bodies such as the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

'Given the widespread nature of BPA exposure in the US, even a modest effect on reproduction is of substantial concern', said Dr Michael Bloom, who was also involved in the study at the State University of New York.

The study measured the blood BPA levels of 26 women who were undergoing IVF treatment at the time. A doubling of BPA levels in blood correlated with a 55 percent drop in successfully fertilised eggs.

'Unfortunately, at this time there is no clinically available test to determine BPA levels in women. Despite the limited evidence, a cautious approach for women who are considering IVF treatment would be to reduce their exposure to BPA through modifications in lifestyle and diet', said Dr Fujimoto.

The latest EFSA report released this year maintains that current exposure levels to BPA from commercial products does not pose a significant health risk and therefore withdrawal of BPA from commercial use is not warranted.

This study was published in Fertility and Sterility.

Bisphenol A
European Food Safety Authority |  17 January 2022
Serum unconjugated bisphenol A concentrations in women may adversely influence oocyte quality during in vitro fertilization
Fertility and Sterility |  3 December 2010
Study links increased BPA exposure to reduced egg quality in women
Eurek Alert |  15 December 2010
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