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The Threat of Bisphenol A

In Utero Bisphenol A Exposure Leadsto Abnormal Egg Development

Patricia A. Hunt, Ph.D.
Washington State University

Recent experiments in pregnant mice exposed to the purported endocrine disrupting chemical bisphenol A at doses within the range of common human exposures cause chromosomal abnormalities in the eggs of the exposed fetuses. These results are from the laboratory of NIEHS grantee Patricia Hunt at Washington State University.

The exposure to bisphenol A at early stages of development disturbs the growth and division of the eggs in the unborn female fetuses. When the fetuses reach adulthood, the perturbations lead to increases in chromosomally-abnormal eggs and embryos. These findings build on previous work from this laboratory that demonstrated that bisphenol A exposure during later stages of egg development resulted in aneuploidy, an abnormal number of chromosomes. The current work suggests that as many as 40 percent of the eggs and embryos from females exposed to the chemical may be chromosomally abnormal compared to the background rate of less than one percent.

Bisphenol A is a component of polycarbonate plastics, resins that line food and beverage containers, and additives in a variety of consumer products. Humans are exposed to trace amounts of it by eating or drinking products stored in these plastics. Other human health effects that have been associated with bisphenol A exposure include a variety of reproductive effects in males and females, increased susceptibility to prostate cancer, alterations in mammary gland organization, and neurological development. Emerging research is beginning to link it with the prevalence of obesity and other endocrine disorders.

Citation: Susiarjo M, Hassold TJ, Freeman E, Hunt PA. Bisphenol A Exposure In Utero Disrupts Early Oogenesis in the Mouse. PLoS Genet. 2007 Jan 12;3(1):e5

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