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Plastics link to 'macho' female mice


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Perhaps this partly explains the unfemininity of Western women and the declining sperm counts of Western men.


Plastics link to 'macho' female mice

WHEN does a female mouse behave like a male? When you give it small doses of bisphenol A, a chemical that mimics the hormone oestrogen. The "gender bender", which masculinises the brains of female mice, is the base chemical for making polycarbonate plastics, often used in bottles and food containers.

When Ana Soto and colleagues at Tufts University in Boston constantly infused bisphenol A into the tissue of pregnant and breastfeeding mice, the female pups displayed the masculinised effects. The doses were equivalent to concentrations found by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in samples of human urine. "We're talking about environmentally relevant levels of exposure," says Soto.

The female pups of mice exposed to the chemical had half the normal number of neurons in an area which controls female reproductive cycles, the same number as males. They also performed more like males in a standard behavioural test (Endocrinology, DOI: 10.1210/en.2006-0189).

Steven Hentges of the American Plastics Council in Arlington, Virginia, points out that humans can metabolise bisphenol A, whereas the mice could not do this since the chemical was administered direct to tissue. "It makes you wonder if it's relevant to humans," he says.

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I had thought that the usual problem with "gender-bending" chemicals in the modern environment was too many oestrogen-like substances in every-day products? This obviously has quite the opposite effect to Cornfed's study, as it's thought to cause feminisation among males.

Here's an article which explains it well (I also like it for the headline!):

If Your Suntan Lotion Can Change The Sex Of Fish, What Can It Do To You?

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