Weak concentrations of bisphenol A are sufficient to produce a negative reaction on the human testicle. This has just been shown experimentally for the first time by René Habert and his colleagues (UMR Cellules souches et Radiations [UMR Stem Cells and Radiation], Inserm U 967 – CEA – Paris Diderot University) in an article that appeared in the journal entitled Plos One.
Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical compound that is included in the composition of plastics and resins. It is used, for example, in the manufacture of food containers such as bottles and babies’ feeding bottles. It is also found in the protective films used inside food and drink cans and on till receipts where it used as a discloser. Significant levels of BPA have also been found in human blood, urine, amniotic fluid and placentas. Recent studies have shown that this industrial component has harmful effects on reproductive ability, development and the metabolism of laboratory animals. BPA is strongly suspected of having the same effects on humans.
As a precautionary measure, the manufacture and sale of babies’ feeding bottles containing bisphenol A have been banned in Europe since January 2011. This ban will be extended in France to all food containers from July 2015. It will also be important to ensure that in the future, bisphenol A is not replaced by substitutes that have the same action.
In an article published in Plos One, René Habert and his colleagues provide the first experimental proof that weak concentrations of bisphenol A are sufficient to produce a negative reaction on the human testicle. No experimental study has shown hitherto that bisphenol A has a deleterious effect on male human reproduction and the few epidemiological studies that exist remain contradictory.
In collaboration with the Antoine-Béclère Hospital, Clamart (1), researchers kept petri dishes of human fœtal testicles alive in the presence of bisphenol A or in the absence thereof, using an original procedure developed by this team. In 2009, this procedure made it possible to show for the first time, that phtalates (a different category of endocrine disruptors (2) that are found in PVC, plastics, synthetic materials, sprays, etc.) inhibit the development of future spermatozoa in the human fœtus.
In this new study, researchers observed that exposure of human fœtal testicles to bisphenol A reduces the production of testosterone, and of another testicular hormone that is necessary for the testicles to descend into the sacs in the course of fœtal development. A concentration equal to 2 micrograms per litre of bisphenol A in the culture