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13 September 2010
Food-packaging behind rising testosterone levels?
by George Atkinson

In the first analysis of its kind, "ordinary" levels of exposure to a common food packaging chemical were found to be associated wih increases in the level of testosterone in the blood. The study, in the latest issue of the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, aimed to measure the daily bisphenol A (BPA) loads excreted by adults, and to examine statistical associations between the amount of BPA exposure and serum oestrogen and testosterone concentrations.

The average BPA daily exposure level in this European study population (over 5 micrograms per day) was slightly higher than recent comparable estimates for the USA population. The study found that higher BPA exposure was statistically associated with increases in levels of testosterone in the blood.

"This is the first big study of BPA from a European country and confirms that 'routine' exposures in the population are not negligible. It also shows that higher exposure to BPA is statistically associated with modest changes in levels of testosterone in men. This new evidence does justify proper human safety studies to clarify the effects of BPA in people," said researcher David Melzer, at the Peninsula Medical School, Exeter, UK.

BPA is one of the world's highest production volume chemicals, with over 2.2 million tonnes produced annually. The main source of BPA in people is thought to be from residues in food, leaching out of certain types of polycarbonate and resin packaging. It is detectable in the bodies of more than 90 percent of the population. It has been associated with thyroid hormone disruption, altered pancreatic beta-cell function, cardiovascular disease and obesity.

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Source: The Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry

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