by Margaret Wertheim, MS RD LDN
Here at Pulling Down the Moon, in addition to optimizing your diet, we also look at the bigger picture of your total lifestyle and how it may be affecting your chances of conception. Many items that you use every day can be a source of toxic chemicals that could negatively impact your fertility, such as plastic water bottles and food containers, personal care products, and household cleaners to name a few. Bisphenol A (BPA), specifically, has been getting lots of bad press recently as more studies show its detrimental health effects such as possible increased risk for breast and prostate cancers and hyperactivity according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG).
BPA is a chemical used in certain types of plastic, including food containers, which is an estrogen mimic, meaning that in our bodies Bisphenol A acts like estrogen does. Estrogen is, of course, an important hormone in women’s health and fertility, however estrogen dominance is associated with increased risk for ovarian and breast cancers, endometriosis, and uterine fibroids. A study in the journal Human Reproduction found that exposure to Bisphenol A was associated with recurrent miscarriage. Another study noted that higher levels of BPA in the blood were associated with increased risk for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). Furthermore, BPA may negatively impact male fertility by causing the creation of reactive oxygen species according to another study. Given the mounting evidence against BPA in the areas of hormone balance and fertility, it is wise to keep BPA exposure as low as possible.
Follow these tips to phase BPA out of your life for better overall health and fertility:
- Make sure all water bottles you drink out of state that they are “BPA free.” Stainless steel water bottles are preferable to plastic, but you still must make sure the bottles are “BPA free,” because sometimes metal bottles are lined with BPA.
- Use a stainless steel lined travel mug for carrying hot beverages. Avoid plastic lined cups.
- Never microwave your food in plastic. Invest in glass food containers for reheating leftovers.
- Avoid putting food in any polycarbonate plastic containers with the #7 inside of the recycle symbol.
- Minimize intake of canned foods. The lining of cans contains BPA which is capable of leaching into the food. Some companies including Trader Joe’s and Eden foods do use some BPA-free cans, but not across the board.
1. Sugiura-Ogaswara M, Ozaki Y, Shin-ichi S, Makino T, Suzumori K (2007). Exposure to bisphenol A is associated with recurrent miscarriage. Human Reproduction . 20:8:2325-2329.
2. Ooe H, Taira T, Iguchi-Ariga SMM, Ariga H (2005). Induction of Reactive Oxygen Species by Bisphenol A and
3. Abrogation of Bisphenol A-Induced Cell Injury by DJ Toxicological Sciences . 88(1), 114-126.
4. Takeuchi T, Tsutsymi O, Ikezuki Y, Takai Y (2004). Positive Relationship between Androgen and the Endocrine Disruptor, Bisphenol A, in Normal Women and Women with Ovarian Dysfunction. Endocrine Journal . 51(2):165-169.