Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Men's Health

Font Size

High BPA Levels May Hurt Sperm Quality

Men With High Levels of Chemical Bisphenol A (BPA) More Likely to Have Low Sperm Count, Motility, Study Finds
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

Oct. 27, 2010 -- Men with high urinary levels of the controversial chemical bisphenol A (BPA) may have lower sperm quality, which could affect their ability to conceive a child.

The new study, which appears in Fertility and Sterility, is the first to link BPA levels to sperm quality in humans. Other studies with similar results were conducted in animals. Exactly how BPA can affect sperm is not known, but animal studies have shown that BPA may have a negative impact on sperm production.

"The higher the BPA exposure, the worse the semen quality," says study author De-Kun Li, MD, PhD, a reproductive and perinatal epidemiologist at Kaiser Permanente's Division of Research in Oakland. "The findings add more weight to the evidence about the effects of BPA on sperm quality," he says.

Of 218 men who worked in a factory in China, those with higher levels of BPA exposure had two to four times the risk of poor semen quality, including low sperm count and motility (the ability of the sperm to move toward the egg), compared to their counterparts who had lower levels of urinary BPA or no detectable BPA in their urine. Some of the factory workers were exposed to BPA on the job while others were not.

BPA levels varied among the men, but occupational exposure to BPA was the most significant contribution to higher levels of BPA.

Evidence Against BPA Mounting

Many manufacturers have already taken steps to eliminate the BPA in baby bottles and cups, but the chemical is also found in the linings of canned foods, plastic containers, dental sealants, and cigarette filters. The FDA has called for more study on BPA because of its "potential health concerns," and the Canadian government recently placed BPA on its list of toxic chemicals.

The time is now to take steps to reduce BPA exposure, Li says.

"You don’t have to wait for regulatory agencies to ban BPA," he says. "In most cases, avoiding BPA doesn’t cost much." Simple ways to steer clear of BPA involve not eating canned foods.

"This study clearly shows that BPA exposures adversely affect men in a serious way: by influencing their semen quality, which could have obvious impacts on their ability to have children," Laura N. Vandenberg, PhD, of the department of biology at Tufts University in Boston, says in an email.

"This study also shows that adult men are sensitive to BPA, and even small amounts of the chemical can have pretty drastic effects," she says. "What remains to be seen is whether the effects of BPA on semen quality are permanent after the kinds of low, chronic exposures that most adults experience."

Today on WebMD

man coughing
Men shouldn’t ignore.
man swinging in hammock
And how to get out it.
shaving tools
On your shaving skills.
muscular man flexing
Four facts that matter.
Food Men 10 Foods Boost Male Health
Thoughtful man sitting on bed
Man taking blood pressure
doctor holding syringe
Condom Quiz
man running
older couple in bed