A chemical found in food packaging could have the ability to reduce a man's sex appeal, and make him undesirable to females, a new study has found.
The University of Missouri study found that male deer mice exposed to the controversial chemical bisphenol A, as babies, became demasculanised and "behaved more like females".
AdvertisementStudy author associate professor Cheryl Rosenfeld, said the chemical had suppressed the early production of testosterone, which the females could sense.
"The BPA-exposed deer mice in our study look normal; there is nothing obviously wrong with them. Yet, they are clearly different," the Daily Mail quoted her as saying.
"Females do not want to mate with BPA-exposed male deer mice, and BPA-exposed males perform worse on spatial navigation tasks that assess their ability to find female partners in the wild," she said.
The research could have implications on how BPA affects human development and behaviour.
"These findings presumably have broad implications to other species, including humans, where there are also innate differences between males and females in cognitive and behavioural patterns," Rosenfeld said.
"Whether there are comparable health threats to humans remains unclear, but there clearly must be a concern," she added.
Bisphenol A, or BPA, which is used to harden plastics, is one of the world's most widely manufactured chemicals and can be found in dozens of everyday items including baby bottles, CD cases and food and drink packaging.
Because the chemical mimics oestrogen, many scientists believe it interferes with the way hormones are processed by the body.
Although several animal studies have shown it to be safe, others have linked Bisphenol A to breast cancer, liver damage, obesity, diabetes and fertility problems.
The study has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.