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Two new recently presented studies show a link between BPA and phthalates, both common chemicals, and serious reproductive risks in both men and women.
Last year, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) FDA refused to ban bisphenol-A (BPA) from food packaging, despite major health concerns that have only become worse with further research.
One of the studies presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine suggests that high levels of BPA, the common chemical in many plastics including the lining in canned foods, are linked to increased risk of miscarriage in certain women.
The study shows that there is increased evidence of “the biological plausibility” that BPA might impact fertility and other aspects of health, according to Dr. Linda Giudice, a California biochemist and president of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, cited by the Associated Press.
However, the study does not prove a link, according to the Associated Press.
The FDA maintains that BPA is safe as currently used in food containers, though it has been eliminated from baby bottles and many reusable water bottles.
Most miscarriages are due to problems with the egg or chromosomes, and a study with mice showed that BPA may affect that risk, according to Dr. Ruth Lathi, a reproductive endocrinologist at Stanford University, cited by AP.
However, the latest study focused on pregnant women who had a history of either infertility or miscarriage.
The top 25 percent of women, based on levels of BPA in their blood, had an 80 percent greater risk of miscarriage compared to those in the lowest 25 percent. The women were similar in terms of age and other potential risk factors.
The study only examined 115 newly pregnant women, leading to a significant range in possible risk, from slightly elevated up to 10 times higher.
The other study found that when men had higher level of the chemical additives phthalates, they were 20 percent less likely to get their partners pregnant over the course of a year, according to Forbes.
The study examined the relationship between the chances of becoming pregnant and phthalate levels in both sexes.
Researchers monitored 500 couples over a year and found that while levels of phthalates were linked to decreased probability of impregnating their partners, levels did not seem to impact women.
Both BPA and phthalates are known to be endocrine disruptors, which means they can interfere with the proper function of hormones.
Unsurprisingly, the American Chemistry Council (ACC), an industry lobby group, disputed the links found by the researchers.
“These studies both appear to be small-scale studies that cannot establish any cause-and-effect relationship,” ACC spokeswoman Kathryn Murray St. John said. “They are based on single samples to monitor exposure and so it is difficult to draw any meaningful conclusions.”
The researchers noted that at this point it is impossible to avoid all contact with BPA. After all, it is used in everything from canned goods to plastic packaging to cash register receipts.
Phthalates are used in some food containers and many personal products like nail polish, body lotion, deodorant and shampoo, according to Forbes. They also show up in everything from building materials like vinyl flooring and pipes to medical devices and adhesives.
“So it’s possible to take in the compounds by using cosmetic products, by inhaling household dust, or eating food that’s been in a plastic container, or possibly just by walking on your floor,” Alice Walton, a PhD in biopsychology, writes for Forbes. “Children can also take in the chemicals by chewing on plastic toys that are made with them.”
However, the scientist did say to avoid cooking or warming foods in plastic containers or letting plastic bottles sit in the sun, since heat increases the rate at which chemicals leak, according to The Telegraph.
In the past, BPA exposure has also been linked to increased risk of childhood obesity and increased risk factors for heart and kidney disease in children and teens, according to CBS.
As of now, the FDA continues to resist the banning of BPA and phthalates.
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