What’s up with erectile dysfunction and Bisphenol-A? A study funded by the federal government and released on Wednesday addressed this question. Apparently Bisphenol-A, a controversial chemical found in hard, clear plastic used in everything from baby bottles to food packaging, is one of the causes of erectile dysfunction and other sexual problems in men.
According to CNN Health, this is one of the first studies to examine the impact of BPA on the reproductive system of human males and supports findings previously reported only in animal research. The Washington Post reports that government agencies had already been questioning the safety of BPA, a compound that is found in thousands of consumer products and is detected in the urine of 93 percent of the U.S. population.
“This is a very compelling study,” states Dr. Rebecca Sokol, the director of the andrology program at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine. “It’s not cause and effect, but when you have the kind of ambient air quality assessment that they made, it comes pretty close to cause and effect.”
According to Vitals.com, Dr. Sokol received her medical degree and specialty training at the University of California. Because of her prolific research contribution on the subject, she is considered one of America’s Leading Experts on Male Infertility.
De-Kun Li, a scientist at the Kaiser Foundation Research Institute who conducted the study, focused on 634 male workers at four factories in China. They were exposed to 50 times more BPA than what an average U.S. man faces.
After five years, their sexual health was compared with that of male workers in other Chinese factories where BPA was not present. Workers that were exposed to large amounts of BPA reported low sex drive, had four times more erectile dysfunction and were seven times more likely to have difficulty with ejaculation then the non-exposed group.
Representatives of the chemical industry feel the study has little meaning for consumers. They believe the study presents interesting information, but has little relevance since the average consumer is exposed to trace levels of BPA.
Last year the FDA’s scientific advisory board was critical of the agency for ignoring more then 100 academic and government studies that showed negative health effects of BPA. Obama’s administration and the FDA are now taking a closer look and a review is expected by the end of the month.
Dr. Sokol believes that the study did have some weaknesses. It was relatively small for an epidemiological study and the rate of erectile difficulty among the BPA workers was still relatively small, a little more than 15 percent.
“The BPA levels measured in the study were extraordinarily high and they may have little or no relevance to somebody drinking water out of a bottle. But we need to be prudent and cautious about whether this chemical actually is impacting reproduction. People have to stop and say, ‘Whoa, now we’re starting to get data in animals that are manifested in humans.’ ”