Canada is setting an example for the rest of the world by banning the sales of Bisphenol-A (BPA), a chemical that has recently been shown to negatively affect male fertility.
This `gender bending' chemical is used to make plastic harder and to make tin cans watertight. It is therefore present in most food and drink cans, plastic food containers and in the casings of mobile phones and other electronics. It is even used in baby bottles, although this is being phased out.
In large quantities, BPA interferes with the release of hormones. Earlier studies have linked the chemical to a slower libido, impotence and DNA damage in sperm. It is a known endocrine disrupter.
The most recent study on BPA analysed the semen of 514 factory workers in China. Over the course of 5 years, researchers determined that men whose urine contained higher BPA levels had more than 3 times the risk of lowered sperm concentration and vitality, more than 4 times the risk of a lower sperm count and more than double the risk of lower sperm motility.
In addition to this, levels of BPA in the blood were found to be inversely proportional to sperm quality. Participants with BPA levels lower than the national average in the US were affected.
The findings objectively illustrate physiological damage caused by BPA, but also suggest that the chemical could produce a pathological change in the male reproductive system. BPA may also affect women's fertility, metabolism and neural development.