BPA is banned in products such as baby bottles and sippy cups, but the chemical continues to be used in many other consumer products. The most prominent continuing use of BPA is in the lining of aluminum and tin cans, where it prevents corrosion.
A new study links foetal exposure to a common chemical pollutant, bisphenol A(BPA), to defects of a testicular hormone in new-borns with undescended testicles.
Cryptorchidism, the medical name for undescended testicles, occurs in 2 to 5 percent of full-term male newborns, according to the authors.
Sometimes the testicles descend on their own within six months after birth otherwise surgery is required to bring the testes out of the abdominal cavity. Untreated, it carries an increased risk in adulthood of decreased fertility and testicular cancer.
The findings do not draw a direct link between BPA and cryptorchidism, as the newborns with undescended testicles did not have greatly increased levels of BPA compared with newborns without the birth defect.
Researchers found, however, that the BPA level in newborns' cord blood inversely correlated with the level of INSL3. That is, the higher the BPA level, the lower the level of the important testicular hormone.
"Alone, our study cannot be considered as definitive evidence for an environmental cause of undescended testis," said lead author Patrick Fenichel, MD, PhD, professor and head of reproductive endocrinology at the University Hospital of Nice in France. "But it suggests, for the first time in humans, a link that could contribute to one co-factor of idiopathic [unexplained] undescended testis, the most frequent congenital malformation in male newborns."
Research is needed to study exposure to BPA during pregnancy.
The above story is based on the June 17, 2013 news release by Endocrine Society.
The results of the study were presented at The Endocrine Society's 95th Annual Meeting in San Francisco.
To learn more about BPA, visit the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
For more on Undescended Testicles, visit Kidshealth.org