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A new study suggests that overexposure to chemicals found in thousands of consumer goods - including food and beverage containers – could be causing problems in the bedroom for men- and their partners. Here's what you need to know.
By Colette Bouchez
If a group of Chinese researchers are right, you may want to keep your partner from snacking on canned ravioli and beer. The reason: You just might see the after-effects in the bedroom - and not in a good way.
Indeed, new research published this week in the journal Human Reproduction found that bisphenol A or BPA - a chemical found in thousands of consumer products including the linings of food and beverage cans – may, in fact, be responsible for a wide range of sexual dysfunction problems in men, including erectile dysfunction and possibly infertility.
Head researcher De-Kun Li recently told the Washington Post “ Critics dismissed all the animal studies saying 'Show us the human studies'; now we have a human study and this just can't be dismissed,” he said.
The five year study followed 634 male works from four Chinese factories where exposure to BPA was significant. Researchers then compared the incidence of sexual dysfunction among these men with a control group who did not have workplace exposure to BPA.
The result: The men who were exposed to the BPA were four times more likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction and seven times as likely to have difficulty with ejaculation.
Moreover, it didn't take long periods of exposure for the sexual problems to kick in. Indeed, men who worked in the factories only a matter of months appeared to be as affected as those who spent years being exposed to the chemical.
In other research it has been shown that men who have either erectile dysfunction or ejaculation problems also experience a higher rate of infertility – and now some researchers are wondering if the two problems aren't “chemically” connected.
"At this point we don't know if the infertility is simply a result of not being able to transport sperm into their partner's body, or if the BPA is playing an additional role in the infertility as well, because certainly we have animal studies showing that BPA can cause infertility,” says Dr. Niels Lauersen, a fertility expert and director of GettingPregnantNow.org. <http://www.gettingpregnantnow.org/>
WHAT IS BPA - & WHERE IS IT HIDING?
BPA is a form of synthetic estrogen that is significant component in polycarbonate plastic.
And while it has long been a “chemical of controversy” among many consumer health groups that controversy made recent headlines when BPA was found in high levels in some baby bottles and in canned infant formula. As a result, some areas of the US have banned BPA from use in all baby products, while some states are considering legislation that would force manufacturers to take such measures.
Unfortunately, baby bottles – or even water bottles – are not the only place where BPA is lurking. Indeed, as a component of the “hard” plastic, BPA is found in literally thousands of consumer products used in food preparation or serving - including kitchen utensils, food storage containers, plastic mugs ( especially travel mugs), and inside the linings of some food and beverage cans. And it is, in fact, this food connection that is the cause for alarm.
Studies show the BPA in these containers and utensils can leach into food . Moreover, certain related factors, including heat, acid, age, microwaving and the use of certain harsh detergents can increase the likelihood of this happening, according to Frederick vom Saal, a biology professor and BPA researcher at the University of Missouri.
Moreover, it's not just your partner who should be concerned. Indeed, studies show that BPA is also linked to an increased risk of breast cancer - in both younger an older women.