Raising Bisphenol-A levels in urine is linked to worsening male sexual function, according to a study.
The Kaiser Permanente research has been published online in the Journal of Andrology.
Increasing urine BPA level is tied to decreased sexual desire, more difficulty having an erection, lower ejaculation strength and lower level of overall satisfaction with sex life, researchers said.
The five-year study examined 427 workers in factories in China, comparing workers in BPA manufacturing facilities with a control group of workers in factories where no BPA was present.
BPA is an ingredient in manufacturing polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins and is now contained in a wide variety of consumer products from baby bottles, plastic containers, and the resin lining of cans for food and beverages, to dental sealants. People can be exposed to BPA by using BPA-containing products.
The study measured urine BPA among participants and examined the correlation between their urine BPA level and their reported problems of sexual dysfunction.
"This is the first human study to show that high urine BPA is associated with lower male sexual function," said study lead author De-Kun Li, MD, PhD, a reproductive and perinatal epidemiologist at Kaiser Permanente's Division of Research in Oakland, Calif. "Also, even among men exposed to BPA from only environmental sources (no occupational exposure and with average BPA level lower than the average observed in the American population), there were indications of an increased risk of sexual dysfunction."
He explained that although the estimates in the environmentally exposed group were not statistically significant due to small sample size, this finding may enhance the understanding of the BPA effect in human populations with low-dose environmental exposure and have important public health implications.
The researchers observed a dose-response association between increasing urine BPA level and declining male sexual function. The observed negative association was consistent across all categories measuring male sexual dysfunction.