BPA harms human reproduction by damaging chromosomes, disrupting egg development

September 24, 2012

A Washington State University researcher has found new evidence that the plastic additive BPA can disrupt women's reproductive systems, causing chromosome damage, miscarriages and birth defects.

Writing in the journal , WSU geneticist Patricia Hunt and colleagues at WSU and the University of California, Davis, report seeing reproductive abnormalities in with BPA levels similar to those of humans. By using an animal with the most human-like reproductive system, the research bolsters earlier work by Hunt and others documenting widespread reproductive effects in rodents.

"The concern is exposure to this chemical that we're all exposed to could increase the risk of miscarriages and the risk of babies born with birth defects like Down Syndrome," says Hunt. "The really stunning thing about the effect is we're dosing grandma, it's crossing the placenta and hitting her developing fetus, and if that fetus is a female, it's changing the likelihood that that female is going to ovulate normal eggs. It's a three-for-one hit."

The research also adds to the number of organs affected by BPA, or A, which is found in plastic bottles, the linings of aluminum cans and heat-activated cash register receipts. This May, Hunt was part of another paper in PNAS reporting that the additive altered mammary development in the primate, increasing the risk of cancer.

Hunt's colleagues at UC, Davis exposed different groups of gestating monkeys to single daily doses of BPA and low-level continuous doses and looked at how they affected the reproductive systems of female fetuses. She saw that in the earliest stage of the adult's , the failed to divide properly. Earlier mouse studies showed similar disturbances translated into in the mature egg.

A fertilized egg with the wrong number of chromosomes will almost always fail to come to term, leading to a or progeny with birth defects.

In monkeys exposed continuously, Hunt saw further complications in the third trimester as fetal eggs were not packaged appropriately in follicles, structures in which they develop. Eggs need to be packaged properly to grow, develop and mature.

"That's not good," says Hunt, "because it looks to us like you're just throwing away a huge number of the eggs that a female would have. It raises concerns about whether or not she's going to have a really short reproductive lifespan."

Explore further: Bisphenol A alters mammary gland development in monkeys

More information: Bisphenol A alters early oogenesis and follicle formation in the fetal ovary of the rhesus monkey, www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1207854109

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2 comments

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Caliban
5 / 5 (3) Sep 24, 2012
And yet, despite all the information available indicating its negative health effects this plastic additive(and its isomers) remains in common use, primarily in food packaging, so no worries -you've probably already gotten your recommended daily dose by now.
kochevnik
3.7 / 5 (3) Sep 24, 2012
It's not like the world exactly need more humans, anyway. Missing chromosomes don't seem to hamper the republicans and they are very adamant about bringing ALL vote-capable life to term. Big win for the future uber humans wishing to shed atavist features onto a beta class of conservative orange-skin oompa loompas.

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