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Your Environment. Your Health.

Sperm may be Harmed by BPA Exposure

Russ Hauser, M.D., Sc.D.
Harvard School of Public Health
NIEHS Grants P30ES000002 and R01ES009718

In one of the first human studies of its kind, researchers have found that urinary concentrations of the controversial chemical Bisphenol A (BPA) may be related to decreased sperm quality and concentration. This work was carried out by NIEHS-supported scientists at the Harvard School of Public Health.

The study included 190 men recruited through a fertility clinic. Sperm concentration, motility, shape, and DNA damage were measured in semen samples from the participants. BPA was detected in 89 percent of the men's urine samples. Sperm concentration was about 23 percent lower in men in the top quartile of exposure as compared with the lowest quartile. The highest exposed men also had about 10 percent more damaged sperm than the lowest exposed group.

These findings are consistent with a previous study suggesting that follicle stimulating hormone and Inhibin B concentrations are altered in response to BPA, which mimics the pattern in men with low sperm production. The researchers are continuing this line of research with a larger cohort of men to confirm their findings.

Citation: Meeker JD, Ehrlich S, Toth TL, Wright DL, Calafat AM, Trisini AT, Ye X, Hauser R. Semen quality and sperm DNA damage in relation to urinary bisphenol A among men from an infertility clinic. Reprod Toxicol. 2010 Dec;30(4):532-9.

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