BPA has already been linked to breast cancer, early puberty, and infertility. Now a new study says that BPA exposure may also make you less attractive to the opposite sex–if you happen to be a male deer mouse.
A University of Missouri study found that male deer mice exposed to BPA through their mother’s diet exhibited compromised spatial learning abilities (spatial abilities are a male-dominant trait). And, perhaps most disturbingly, both BPA-exposed and control females preferred the clean males to BPA-exposed males. BPA-exposed males were rejected two to one by the females in the study. BPA, in other words, makes male deer mice less sexy to their female counterparts.
The researchers explain:
The disruption of male spatial cognition and the supporting brain systems would severely compromise the ability of the male deer mice to find mates in natural settings, and even if they did locate females, such animals would seem to be less likely to be chosen as mates than males that had not been exposed to BPA.
So the epigenetic changes wrought by BPA make it harder for males to find females–and once they find them, the females don’t want anything to do with the BPA-exposed, demasculinized deer mice.
It’s hard to say how this research translates to humans; we are obviously different from deer mice in many ways, and spatial cognition is not high on any woman’s list of things she finds attractive in men. But humans also have innate behavior pattern differences between the sexes. And according to the researchers, the demonstration that “developmental exposure to BPA compromises cognitive abilities and behaviors essential for males to reproduce successfully has broad implications to other species, including our own.” Maybe we aren’t so different from the deer mice after all.
For tips on how to avoid BPA in your daily life, check out this post.
[Image: Flickr user Casa_No_7]