Most of us use plastic bottles to store water. But did you know that your favorite water bottle you carry around could affect your fertility?
Yes, according to a recent research on the effects of a common component in plastic bottles, bisphenol A or BPA, on a woman’s body has found that the compound could damage developing ovaries.
The study, started by Jodi Flaws, a bioscientist at the University of Illinois, a few years ago was started out of curiosity. Although bisphenol was known to affect a woman’s fertility, the exact method of its working was not known.
Dr Flaws started experimenting the effect of bisphenol on female mice. She found that on being dosed with the same amount of bisphenol that is commonly found in females in the US, the mice had fewer and smaller follicles than those that were not. Further analysis showed that estradiol, the sex hormone essential for normal reproductive development, was not being produced at normal levels.
BPA was found to be responsible for hampering the production of such hormones. Another study also found that after a period of time the mice stopped producing viable eggs at an abnormally young age.
Further studies found that BPA had the same effect in a wide range of animals including mammals like sheep, monkeys and humans. In an statement Dr Flaws said, ‘I think most scientists working today agree that BPA is an ovarian toxicant,’ a study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, found that ovarian toxicity is among the most consistent and strongest effects found ‘in both animal models and in women.’
BPA or bisphenol A, was discovered in the late 19th century, and came into wide commercial use in the mid-20th century. Being one of the most essential ingredients in the production of products like polycarbonate plastics, thermal coatings, etc. which is commonly found in plastic water bottles, cash register receipts and protective linings in cans and pipes.
The compound was not considered harmful for health till the late 1990s, when researchers first reported that it appeared to disrupt normal hormone function. This worry led to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) to ban it its use in the manufacturing of baby products like bottles. But, this compound is still commonly used in various other products due to the difficulty in finding a substitute.