AMA policy recognizes BPA as an endocrine-disrupting agent

July 7, 2011

The American Medical Association has adopted a policy recognizing bisphenol A (BPA) as an endocrine-disrupting agent and urging that BPA-containing products with the potential for human exposure be clearly identified.

The American Medical Association has adopted a policy recognizing bisphenol A (BPA) as an endocrine-disrupting agent and urging that BPA-containing products with the potential for human exposure be clearly identified.

The new policy also supports ongoing industry actions to stop producing BPA-containing baby bottles and infant feeding cups and supports a ban on the sale of such products.

In addition to plastics, BPA is used in other consumer products, including the lining of canned food containers, cigarette filters, dental sealants, certain medical devices, and the coating of thermal and carbonless papers such as cash register receipts. Although BPA is firmly established as an endocrine disruptor that has the potential to cause harmful effects on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland in fetuses and children, its safety continues to be disputed, the AMA said in a statement.

"Both the FDA and Canadian officials have recently expressed concern about potential harmful effects of BPA and taken interim actions to protect sensitive populations such as infants and toddlers by banning the sale of baby bottles, food containers, and cups containing BPA," said AMA Board Member Edward Langston, MD. "The new policy adopted today supports these measures and a shift to a more robust, science-based federal regulatory framework for oversight of BPA."

In related news, BPA was found to lower fertility in male mice in a study presented at The Endocrine Society’s annual meeting in Boston. Mice that received daily BPA injections for 2 months had lower sperm counts and testosterone levels than those of mice that received saline injections without BPA. Compared with untreated controls, mice exposed to BPA produced litters that were 50% smaller.

"We are being exposed to BPA in our daily lives at a level much higher than the safe recommended exposure," said principal author Surya Singh, PhD, of Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India. "In this study, we are trying to explore what the outcome can be if we are continuously exposed to BPA in our routine life."

BPA-exposed mice received a dose that was twice the daily upper limit of safe exposure recommended by U.S. FDA and the Environmental Protection Agency. At a BPA dosage of 100 mcg/kg of body weight daily, the mice also had structural defects in their testicles and were considered subfertile. If the same dose had been given longer than 2 months, Dr. Singh speculated that it might lead to infertility.