Exposure to plastic derived BPA during pregnancy can compromise reproductive function of male offspring, says new study

11:28 AM Sep 13, 2023 | PTI |

A study conducted by the ICMR-National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) here demonstrated an adverse effect of exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) during pregnancy and male reproductive function in the rat offspring.


BPA is a chemical produced in large quantities for use primarily in the production of polycarbonate plastics.

It is commonly found in plastics, food containers, and consumer products and it has long been associated with disruptions in hormonal systems, NIN said in a release.

The study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, has reported the lasting impact of fetal exposure to BPA on testicular functions relevant to sperm maturation among the adult male rats.

In the study, pregnant rats were divided into two groups – one group was exposed to BPA for 4-21 days during pregnancy, while the second group was not exposed to BPA.


The male babies born to the BPA-exposed rats showed reduced concentration, localisation of expression of some fatty acids thus adversely affecting the system which is required for protecting the membrane fluidity and maturity of the sperm. This disruption can potentially lead to compromised sperm quality in adulthood, it said.

”Our findings suggest a crucial link between early exposure to BPA and the possible long-term health of the male reproductive system,” Sanjay Basak, Scientist in the Molecular Biology Division of ICMR-NIN, who led the study, said.

While many factors can contribute to male infertility, including lifestyle, it is alarming to find that gestational exposure to endocrine disruptor like BPA is emerging as a significant risk for male reproductive health in the offspring, he said.

”This raises significant concern as BPA exposure is widely prevalent in our daily life. However, similar exposure on the clinical interface is required to confirm these risks,” he said.

”Exposure to such endocrine-disrupters is almost inevitable in our everyday life through various routes including dermal, respiratory, oral routes from atmosphere and leaching of plastic food-container surfaces,” said Hemalatha R, Director, ICMR-NIN.

Therefore, on a cautionary note, Basak and his team suggest that the pregnant women and those planning to conceive should avoid exposure to BPA-containing plastic products, and emphasised the importance of opting for plastic-free alternatives whenever possible, the release added.


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