A human’s prenatal exposure to certain plastics might affect later reproductive behaviors. University of Missouri Associate Professor Cheryl Rosenfeld said her experiments on monogamous mice find that exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) hinders their likelihood to reproduce. Rosenfeld said she believes these alterations may take place in humans as well and preventative action is necessary.
“My biggest concern is that there’s not been one piece of legislation approved or policy decision that has basically prevented the major source of exposure and probably the most important,” Rosenfeld said. “And that’s the pregnant mother.”
She said BPA affects male mice differently than females. She said she believes human studies must begin to consider behavior changes specific to sex rather than general behaviors in order for progress to be made.
University of Virginia Professor Emilie Rissman said she believes Rosenfeld’s research is the first step toward social awareness.
“I think that there have been concerns about BPA among the general public and the legislators for a long time,” Rissman said. “I think that some of the data, like the things that Cheryl’s lab are doing, do speak to that and sort of give us some more data to make an informed decision about social policy.”
Rosenfeld’s studies reveal that BPA can mimic the impact of female hormones, hindering their ability to mate and pass their genes to the next generation.