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NEW YORK - Male factory workers in China who got very high doses of a chemical that's been widely used in hard plastic bottles had high rates of sexual problems, researchers reported Wednesday.
Heavy exposure to BPA, or bisphenol A, on the job was linked to impotence and lower sexual desire and satisfaction, according to the study, which adds to concerns about BPA's effects on most consumers.
BPA is used in a wide variety of consumer products, including some hard plastic bottles and metal food or beverage cans. Several makers of baby bottles recently said they had stopped using the chemical. Some 90 percent of the U.S. population carries detectable levels in the urine.
Scientists are concerned that BPA exposure might harm the reproductive and nervous systems, and possibly promote prostate and breast cancers. Last year, a preliminary study linked BPA to possible risks for heart disease and diabetes.
METHODS: We conducted an occupational cohort study to examine the effect of occupational exposure to BPA on the risk of male sexual dysfunction. Current workers from BPA-exposed and control factories were recruited. The exposed workers were exposed to very high BPA levels in their workplace. Male sexual function was ascertained through in-person interviews using a standard male sexual function inventory.
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings provide the first evidence that exposure to BPA in the workplace could have an adverse effect on male sexual dysfunction.