BPA Not Linked to Ill Effects in 2 Studies
Findings Conflict With Earlier Studies Suggesting Plastics Chemical Is a Health Hazard
BPA and Sexual-Reproductive Effects Study
For the other study, researchers focused on the effects of maternal exposure
to relatively low oral doses of the oral contraceptive ethinyl estradiol or BPA
in utero and during breastfeeding to see if either would change the expression
of sexually specific behaviors, the age of puberty, or affect reproductive
functioning in female rats.
Although the estrogen exposure was associated with changes such as reduced
fertility and litter size, malformation of the
genitals, a reduced preference for sugary drinks (considered a male behavior),
and absence of a sexual posture typical for females, the exposure to BPA didn't
have any of those effects.
''We found dose-related effects from the estradiol," says the study's lead
author Earl Gray, PhD, a research biologist and reproductive toxicologist at
the Environmental Protection Agency, but not with the BPA.
The doses used were low, he says. The accumulated findings, he says, are
conflicting. "There are a large number of studies that don't show low-dose
effects and there are studies that do show low-dose effects."
BPA and Its Effects: Pro, Con
In a commentary accompanying the study led by Gray, Richard Sharpe of The
Queen's Medical Research Institute in Edinburgh, Scotland, says the Gray study
and others ''more or less close the door on the possibility that bisphenol A is
an environmental chemical to be concerned about'' because of its estrogen- like
Although BPA might contribute to the additive effects of a mixture of
estrogen-like chemicals, Sharpe contends that the contribution of BPA ''will be
Lunder strongly disagrees, pointing to the studies that show the chemical
does indeed disrupt the hormone system in different ways. She says the new
research did not adequately address the effects of sexual disturbances.
''BPA is connected to some of the biggest health problems in America," she
says. She points to a monograph issued by the federal National Toxicology
Program, finding some concern that everyday exposure may be linked with neural
and behavioral changes.
Gray says there is ''no conclusive evidence that the chemical is harmful''
at low doses. If consumers are concerned, he says, taking steps to avoid
BPA-containing products ''is probably a reasonable thing to do."