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Study: BPA Linked to Higher Testosterone Levels

Small Increase in Testosterone Levels in Men's Blood After Exposure to Plastic Chemical

Second Opinion continued...

The new study "is adding to a small, but growing body of literature that background exposures to BPA could have potential health implications for people in the general population," he tells WebMD. "Human studies are limited, but there are a number underway so we should know a bit more about the human health risks of BPA exposure in the near future."

Meantime, Meeker, along with the FDA and other groups, suggest limiting exposure to BPA.

Some urge caution in drawing any conclusions based on the new findings.

"The bio-monitoring data represents exposure only over the last 24 hours. The study cannot establish a cause-effect relationship for any biological event that occurs at an earlier time," says Steven G. Hentges, PhD, of the Polycarbonate/BPA Global Group of the American Chemistry Council, a trade group in Arlington, Va.

"The small changes in testosterone levels appear to be within normal ranges and there is no indication that these changes are associated with any health effect," he tells WebMD in a written statement.  What's more, testosterone levels are known to vary significantly throughout the day and seasonally.

Elizabeth Whelan, ScD, MPH, the president of American Council on Science and Health, a nonprofit that receives industry funding as well as funding from other sources, agrees. "It is no surprise that BPA was measurable in urine, but as to BPA being causally related to an increase in testosterone, the authors note that their evidence does not prove causation," she says. "There is no reason to believe that trace environmental exposures to BPA would affect testosterone levels any more than eating a meal consisting of natural soy, which is a potential natural endocrine modulator."

Concerns About BPA

Others aren't willing to take any chances regarding BPA.

Calling this an "important study,"  Robin M. Whyatt, DrPH, a  professor of clinical environmental health sciences and the deputy director of the Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health in New York City, says that "these findings are a clear indications that BPA is an endocrine disruptor and the effects on testosterone levels are of concern."

Whyatt's group is now looking at early-life exposures to BPA and subsequent obesity and metabolic syndrome in later childhood.

“This compelling new study is another piece of evidence that everyday exposures to BPA are affecting human health," says Sonya Lunder, MPH, a senior analyst at the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit organization that advocates for public health issues. "The finding bears more follow-up, especially to determine the overall effects of this short-term alteration in hormone levels. However, it points to the immediate need to reduce BPA exposures, not just for infants and children, but for all age groups," she says in an email.

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