The industry body said while the research was of interest, it could not be applied to the average person whose exposure to the chemical was much lower than those studied.
Lower consumer exposure
“This study of occupational exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) among male factory workers in China provides interesting new information, although its relevance to average consumers who use products containing minute amounts of BPA is limited, at best”, said Steven G. Hentges, of the ACC’s Polycarbonate/BPA Global Group.
The ACC was responding to a five-year study on 634 workers in factories in China that found that those exposed to BPA had quadruple the risk of erectile dysfunction and seven times more risk of ejaculation difficulty compared to workers where no BPA was present.
Appearing in the journal Human Reproduction, the study, “Occupational Exposure to Bisphenol–A (BPA) and the Risk of Self–Reported Male Sexual Dysfunction,” by D. Li, Z. Zhou, D. Qing, et al, has made headlines around the world. The ACC said the authors themselves admit the research cannot be applied wholesale to consumers. The body quotes them as saying: “the findings from this study probably do not apply to populations that are exposed to low levels of BPA”.
It added that the researchers said the “observed association may only apply to highly exposed workers”.
But lead author Dr De-Kun Li added the study could have implications beyond male impotence as it could be a “sensitive early indicator for adverse BPA effects than other disease endpoints that are more difficult to study, such as cancer or metabolic diseases”.
The ACC further stated the study failed to indicate clearly whether all the workers evaluated took appropriate safety precautions such as the wearing of protective clothing. Following safety procedures was “essential”, said the body and noted the European Union’s 2008 conclusion that “when established worker–protection measures are taken, no further risk reduction measures are needed to prevent both ‘repeated dose systemic effects and reproductive toxicity for workers’.”
BPA is a chemical used in food packaging such as polycarbonate baby bottles and the epoxy lining of food cans. In recent years, consumer anxiety has grown over its continued use after a large body of research has linked the chemical to health conditions including diabetes, heart disease and even cancer. The US Food and Drug Administration is due to deliver the findings of its safety review of the chemical by the end of this month.