Bisphenol A (BPA) is used in certain plastics and epoxy resins and is found in products ranging from water bottles to paper receipts. Studies have found that BPA can leach from these plastic and epoxy products in varying degrees and enter the human body through dermal, respiratory, and oral routes. While the FDA announced in July that BPA in food packaging is safe at its current low levels, new research suggests that BPA may be harmful to the human reproductive system even at low dosages.
The effects of BPA have historically been difficult to study because the chemical has different mechanisms of action in different tissues, species, doses, and windows of exposure. However, one current review of the existing studies published between 2007 and 2013 has given researchers a broader perspective of BPA’s effects on reproductive health.  The studies under review include high- and low-dose exposures to BPA, as well as pre-, neo-, and postnatal exposures in multiple species.
The authors of the review found strong evidence that BPA is an ovarian toxicant as well as a prostate and uterine toxicant. There was limited evidence concerning BPA’s effects on birth weight, number of offspring, and length of gestation, meaning that some of the studies under review pointed to detrimental effects.
How to Reduce BPA Exposure
With evidence about the potential dangers of BPA mounting, researchers are recommending future studies that look at critical periods during development while also isolating potential interactions with coexisting factors. While evidence about the effects of BPA on the reproductive health of animals is somewhat strong, more research is needed to better understand how BPA affects human reproductive health.
Avoiding BPA in today’s world isn’t easy; however, there are ways to reduce exposure, thus reducing risk for reproductive issues later down the road. Saying no to plastic bottles and foods with packaging -- particularly the ones that aren’t labeled BPA-free -- is a great start to eliminating BPA from your life. Only take paper receipts if you absolutely need them, or choose electronic receipts if at all possible. Have the majority of your food as whole and raw, and reduce the use of processed foods, particularly if they are stored in plastic packaging and aluminum cans.
What are your thoughts on the pervasiveness of BPA in our environment and food supply? Do you think measures should be taken to eliminate their use? Weigh in and give us your thoughts in the comments!
-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM