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Urine bisphenol A and pubertal development in boys

Bisphenol A (BPA) is an environmental endocrine disruptor and is found in many consumer products. Animal studies suggest that BPA may perturb pubertal development in males, although studies in humans are limited. This study investigated the association between BPA exposure and pubertal onset and progression among school-aged boys in Shanghai, China. A total of 671 boys aged 9-18 years from three schools (one elementary, one middle, and one high school) in Shanghai were enrolled in a cross-sectional study. Tanner stages for genital and pubic hair development and testicular volume were assessed by a specifically trained physician. Information concerning spermarche was self-reported. Urine samples were collected to examine peripubertal BPA exposure levels. Associations between BPA exposure and pubertal development, as indicated by the presence of different milestones in early puberty, mid-puberty and late puberty, were assessed using Poisson multivariate regression to derive adjusted prevalence ratios (PRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Earlier onset of genital and pubic hair development was observed in boys with moderate BPA exposure compared with those exposed to the least BPA; the adjusted PRs were 1.31 (95%CI:1.03, 1.68) and 1.28 (95%CI:1.02, 1.60) for onset of genital maturation and pubic hair development, respectively. A similar trend was seen for onset of testicular development, although the association was not statistically significant. Conversely, compared with the lowest level of BPA exposure, moderate BPA exposure was associated with delayed presence of the late stage of genital development, with an adjusted PR of 0.78 (95%CI: 0.65, 0.92). A suggestive inverse association was also observed between BPA exposure and late progression of testicular development. Our findings indicate an association between peripubertal BPA exposure and earlier pubertal onset, but delayed pubertal progression, in boys. Longitudinal studies of male pubertal development with periodic follow-up are needed to verify these results.

Authors: Wang Z; Li D; Miao M; Liang H; Chen J; Zhou Z; Wu C; Yuan W

Int J Hyg Environ Health. 2017 Jan;220(1):43-50. Epub 2016-10-15.

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