Dangerous Plastics for Women

A compound found in many plastics poses a greater threat to women with polycystic ovary syndrome

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) A new study to be published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism has found a link between polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and levels of the industrial compound Bisphenol A (BPA).

Researchers from Greece and the UK found that women with PCOS, compared to healthy women, have higher levels of BPA.

BPA is used mainly to make plastics for products such as medical and dental devices, compact discs, consumer electronics, and baby bottles. The compound has raised health concerns in the past, motivating some retailers to stop selling products containing BPA. With as many as five million US women affected, PCOS is the most common endocrine disorder in women. PCOS causes the body to overproduce masculinizing hormones called androgens. Those with PCOS have are at a greater risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, infertility, and heart disease.

Researchers analyzed blood levels of BPA in 71 women with PCOS and 100 healthy women. The participants were separated into groups by age and body type. Thinner women had blood levels of BPA that were 60 percent greater than those of the controls. Obese women had levels of BPA that were 30 percent higher. The researchers also found that levels of male sex hormones were greater as BPA levels increased. This last finding suggests that BPA might play a role in ovarian dysfunction.

According to Evanthia Diamanti-Kandarakis, M.D., Ph.D., professor at the University of Athens and co-author of the study, the study's results indicate that BPA poses a greater risk to women with hormonal and fertility complications, such as those with PCOS. She adds that women suffering from PCOS should avoid unwarranted consumption of products in plastic containers.

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Review Date: 
January 17, 2011
Last Updated:
January 17, 2011