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BPA plastics chemical causing sperm count decline


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(NaturalNews) A recent study conducted by researchers from Washington State University substantiates earlier claims regarding the connection between endocrine mimickers, such as bisphenol A (BPA), and fertility complications in men and women, according to a report by the Press Association.

Hormone disruptors, found in a variety of sources, continue to pose a very real threat to humans as they alter the normal functioning of hormones, interfering with signaling processes that tell our tissues what to do.

Published in the online journal Public Library of Science Genetics, this latest study sheds light on the way xenoestrogens, synthetic versions of estrogen used in women's birth control pills, affect sperm counts in men, disrupting their ability to produce.

Researchers from the U.S. obtained their results after they exposed newborn male lab mice to doses of the plastics chemical (bisphenol A) and estradiol, a synthetic form of estrogen used in contraceptives, in their food.

Men, as well as the general population, are exposed to estradiol through public drinking water, as most wastewater treatment plants are still lacking the equipment needed to filter out low concentrations of pharmaceuticals.

Lab mice exposed to hormone mimickers, such as BPA, struggle to carry out meiosis, resulting in the death of sperm

In the mice exposed to hormone mimickers, scientists observed a struggle in developing sperm. Developing sperm in exposed mice did a "poorer" job of meiosis, a specialized type of cell division that involves reducing the number of chromosomes by half, researchers say.

The struggle to carry out meiosis as proficiently as healthy cells resulted in the death of more sperm. "We have a window of just a few days and we permanently change the way that the testis makes sperm in the adult," said lead researcher Dr. Pat Hunt, from Washington State University.

The study's results support mounting evidence that hormone mimickers are single-handedly changing the way humans reproduce, highlighting the need for more awareness, as well as enhancing policies on restricting plastics, and other sources of endocrine mimickers such as pharmaceuticals, personal care products and industrial and agricultural practices.

The idea that endocrine mimickers are interfering with male sperm counts is not a new one; in fact, research supporting this hypothesis dates back to the 1940s when scientists predicted that the estrogen-mimicking properties of DDT (a pesticide commonly used before its ban in 1972) and its metabolites are responsible for a decrease in men's sperm counts.

Experiments carried out by Danish scientists in the early 1990s found "a genuine decline in semen quality over the past 50 years." A separate study conducted by French researchers in 2013 examined the partners of more than 26,000 childless women, finding that semen concentrations dropped by nearly 2 percent each year for 17 years.

"What about several generations? Infertility is becoming more common. Are we creating the perfect storm?"

In Dr. Hunt's experiment, three mouse populations were used: one "outbred," like humans, and two others that were "inbred." A "very strong effect" was witnessed on the outbred mice and one of the inbred strains. The third strain was reportedly unaffected.

"This mouse model would suggest that here's actually a reason why these sperm counts would be falling," Dr. Hunt said.

"We're actually doing something to this process that's going to cause the death of more cells as they're trying to make sperm. They're going to get culled out by this quality-control mechanism and the upshot of that will be that if you do enough of this, you'll drop sperm counts."

Dr. Hunt's latest experiment reinforced fears that sperm counts will continue to fall with each exposed generation. "We've seen effects over the course of several decades," she said.

Sources:

http://www.scientificamerican.com

http://people.chem.duke.edu

https://uk.news.yahoo.com

http://www.epa.gov

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