BPA May Affect Reproductive Health.
The Food and Drug Administration considers the industrial chemical bisphenol A (BPA) to pose minimal risks to health, and continues to allow it in many plastic containers, the lining of food cans, and other products. But there is enough data to raise concerns about BPA exposure during pregnancy, according to a new study co-authored by a School of Public Health researcher.
The study, published in the journal Reproduction, suggests prenatal BPA exposure can affect ovarian development, which could then raise the risk of infertility and ovulation disorders.
“We found there is mounting evidence for the effects of these exposures in the prenatal period, a particularly vulnerable time of development,” says study co-author Shruthi Mahalingaiah, assistant professor of epidemiology. “Whether there are causative associations with human ovulation disorders needs to be further studied.”
Ovarian development and function represents a complex coordination of processes, starting early in prenatal development. Early aberrations have the potential to carry through the reproductive lifespan, says Mahalingaiah, who is also an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the School of Medicine.
The researchers performed a literature review of studies around prenatal exposure to BPA published in PubMed from 2000 to 2018, looking for data on ovarian outcomes in rodent and human models. They evaluated data available from three human cohorts to look at associations between prenatal exposure to BPA and hormones at birth, genitalia development at birth, and hormone levels around puberty. They also looked at studies that measured the effect of BPA on fertility, ovarian weight, ovarian histologic changes, ovarian gene expression, oogenesis/oocyte survival, follicular distribution, sex steroids/steroid receptors, sexual maturity and puberty, and estrous cyclicity.
They found that, although current exposures to BPA have not shown marked or consistent results, there was still sufficient data to raise concerns about prenatal BPA exposure and ovarian function. Future research will need to expand on these findings to provide a clearer picture of the effects BPAs may have on ovarian development and function, the authors wrote.
The study was co-authored by Hannah Mathew of the School of Medicine.
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