Exposure to BPA, a chemical regularly used in plastic products, has been further linked to the current decline in male fertility. Research has concluded that even small levels of the chemical can cut men’s sperm counts and may harm future pregnancies by damaging sperm quality.
Concerns about BPA first surfaced with its use in baby bottles. Most are now produced without BPA, however BPA is still present in many other products from water bottles to thermal till receipts.
BPA only has an effect if ingested, but recent studies have found that even in tiny levels may be harmful. For products such as food containers and water bottles that are re-used and often heated, the risk can increase.
“Much of the focus for BPA is on the exposures in the womb or in early life, which is of course extremely important, but this suggests exposure may also be a concern for adults,” said Professor John Meeker, who led the study at the University of Michigan.
Although the substance is banned in Canada, Denmark and three US states, the UK Food Standards Agency said that the human exposure to the chemical via plastics is “well below levels considered harmful”.