WASHINGTON, Sept. 24 (Xinhua) -- The plastic additive BPA can disrupt women's reproductive systems, causing chromosome damage, miscarriages and birth defects, according to a study published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The researchers exposed different groups of gestating monkeys to single daily doses of BPA and low-level continuous doses and looked at how they affected the reproductive systems of female fetuses. They saw that in the earliest stage of the adult's egg development, the egg cell failed to divide properly. Earlier mouse studies showed similar disturbances translated into genetic defects in the mature egg.
A fertilized egg with the wrong number of chromosomes will almost always fail to come to term, leading to a spontaneous abortion or progeny with birth defects.
In monkeys exposed continuously, researchers saw further complications in the third trimester as fetal eggs were not packaged appropriately in follicles, structures in which they develop. Eggs need to be packaged properly to grow, develop and mature.
"That's not good," said Washington State University geneticist Patricia Hunt, who is lead author of the study. "Because it looks to us like you're just throwing away a huge number of the eggs that a female would have. It raises concerns about whether or not she's going to have a really short reproductive lifespan."
BPA is a man-made chemical present in a variety of products including food containers, receipt paper and dental sealants and is now widely detected in human urine and blood. Public health concerns have been fueled by findings that BPA exposure can influence brain development. In mice, prenatal exposure to BPA is associated with increased anxiety, aggression and cognitive impairments.