PEAK TESTOSTERONE

Bisphenol-A

What a disaster! That's all one can really say about the widespread use of Bisphenol-A (BPA).  Tragically, researchers have known of its toxicity for decades.  In fact, BPA was originally developed as a estrogen replacement, but then someone got the idea to put it into every consumer and industrial product known to man.  BPA is used in making plastics, epoxies, PVC, dental fillings, eyeglass lenses, dental fillings - the list goes on and on.

Although BPA's most well-known usage is in food cans, USA Today reports that Bisphenol-A is used in many other food containers including Tupperware and sports drink cups.  In addition, CD's, DVD's  and eye lenses are also made often with Bisphenol-A. [9] Our kids are certainly not left out either:  sippy cups, baby bottles, safety goggles and helmets can also contain BPA.  It is so ubiquitous that 93% of Americans have significant levels of this toxin. [6]

The evidence is mounting just how hard this is on the male body.  I have already covered how researchers cautioned that bisphenol-A is a xenoestrogen associated with various reproductive disorders in animals and, more importantly, that even a very minute amount can have a negative effect. This chemical is so powerful that 50 micrograms per kilogram of body weight is the current upper limit considered safe by the EPA. However, research on animals has shown that the actual safe level is much lower than that!  

So it isn't it nice that they decided to use this toxic substance in our food and beverage containers?  Researchers have long known that canned tomatoes, which are acidic, can pull out more Bisphenol-A.  However, recently  researchers at Consumer Reports found that it was not just canned tomato goods that had problems - it was canned goods in general.  In a study of various canned goods, the BPA problem was found to be much more widespread than previously imagined. [1] Almost every canned product tested, including green beans, Juicy Juice, soup, corn, chili and baby formula, had signficant BPA levels and researchers estimate that it would be very easy for someone to consume levels of BPA close and equivalent to that which caused reproductive issues in animals.  (NOTE:  I recommend that you avoid canned goods until the FDA sorts this out.) 

This could be critical to your sex life by the way.  Researchers have already shown that average human tissue levels of BPA are beyond that which causes problems in animals. [3] Furthermore, workers exposed occupationally to Bisphenol-A suffer lowered libido, reduced sexual satisfaction and erectile dysfunction. [2]  In fact, this understates the issue:  researchers found that they were "four times as likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction and seven times as likely to have difficulty with ejaculation". [6]

REAL WORLD ANALYSIS:  You may be thinking, "Sure if you megadose someone with any substance, you're going to get problems."  Well, we are not talking megadoses here - not even close.  Consumer Reports examined the case of a 165 lb person eating a typical serving of canned green beans.  They would end up ingesting about ".2 micrograms of BPA per kg of body weight per day".  This is eighty times the amount considered safe! [10] This stuff is highly toxic and your system is likely being flooded with it unless you do something about it.

NEWS FLASH:  BPA has also now been linked to heart disease and possibly diabetes and liver dysfunction. [7] One recent study shows that those with Bisphenol-A tissue levels in the top 25% were twice as likely to suffer from heart disease. [8] This, by the way, was the second study to come up with this finding.

Even more frightening is what may be happening to our kids.  Our young children, particulary boys, were already under siege from the effeminization of Phthalates used in plastic.  Time Magazine recently covered how Bisphenol-A is likely contributing to the same issue and actually modifying the brain. [4]  BPA consumption has also been linked to lower birth weights in expectant mothers. [11] There is also strong evidence that BPA is a carcinogen and reduces fertility in males by modifying sperm counts and causing other nasty reproductive issues. [5]

WARNING: Plastics that are "BPA Free" are safe, right?  Wrong!  One recent study noted that even very minute amounts in the nano or picomole range have been shown to cause health problems, especially to young children. The authors then went on to test a variety of BPA Free products and found that almost all had estrogens and some even showed more powerful estrogenic behavior than standard BPA plastics. [12]

WARNING #2:  Dangerous residue levels of Bisphenol-A has also now been found in an abundance of paper products.  This includes just about every paper product imaginable including "napkins, toilet paper, tickets, food wrappers, newspapers, and printer paper." [13][14] These levels are much higher than even those found in canned goods and can be absorbed through the skin. Receipts are particular risky.

Again, avoid plastics and cans, especially in cooking and food preparation, until technology finds and implements some reasonable alternatives.

Bisphenol-A: What Can You Do?

The FDA finally issued a "needs more study" stance regarding BPA in mid January 2010.  Yes, this is yet another lesson that the FDA is not going to protect youI and your family:  there are now dozens of studies around the globe showing the negative effects of Bisphenol-A, including many at dosages we humans ingest and yet they still are taking a "let's all think about this some more" stance.

Well, the only good thing the FDA had to say was issue some guidelines for those who wish to try to protect themselves.  Here is a listing:

1) Throw away scratched plastics.

2) Do not put hot liquids into plastics.

3) Do not heat plastics, especially in the microwave.

In other words, I'd break out the stainless steel - not aluminum! - and glass and throw the rest out.

REFERENCES:

REFERENCES:

1) http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/consumer- reports-tests-find-wide-range- of-bisphenol-a-in-canned-soups-juice-and-more-68723862.html

2) Hum Reprod, 2009, Advance Access published online on November 10, 2009, "Occupational exposure to bisphenol-A (BPA) and the risk of self-reported male sexual dysfunction"

3) Reproductive Toxicology, Aug/Sep 2007, 24(2):131-138, "Chapel Hill bisphenol A expert panel consensus statement: Integration of mechanisms, effects in animals and potential to impact human health at current levels of exposure"

4) http://wellness.blogs.time.com/2009/11/16/can-plastic-chemicals-cause-effeminate-behavior-in-boys/

5) http://www.medpagetoday.com/MeetingCoverage/ASRM/11853

6) Wash. Post, "High BPA levels linked to male sexual problems", Lyndsey Layton, Wednesday, November 11, 2009

7) http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/01/100115-bpa-bisphenol-a-heart-disease/

8) PLoS ONE, 5(1):e8673, "Association of Urinary Bisphenol A Concentration with Heart Disease: Evidence from NHANES 2003/06"

9) USA Today, online, "Bisphenol-A: What You Need to Know"

10) Consumer Reports, Dec 2009, p. 55.

11) http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110505091236.htm

12) Environ Health Perspect, 2011, 119:989-996, "Most Plastic Products Release Estrogenic Chemicals: A Potential Health Problem That Can Be Solved"

13) Environ Sci Technol, 2011, 45(21):9372 9379, "Widespread Occurrence of Bisphenol A in Paper and Paper Products: Implications for Human Exposure"

14) http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/ art.asp?articlekey=152231