Sex organs in mice stunted
by tooth-coating chemical

Copyright 1998
Copyright 1998 Reuters News Service
May 13, 1998

LONDON (May 13, 1998 10:50 p.m. EDT - A chemical compound used in protective coatings on teeth stunts the sexual development of male mice, a science magazine said on Wednesday.

Frederick Vom Saal and researchers at the University of Missouri found that bisphenol A, which mimics the effects of the female hormone oestrogen in test tube studies, seems to disrupt normal hormones functions in male fetuses whose mothers were fed the chemical.

"At birth, the male pups were smaller than normal and had seminal vesicles that were 12 percent smaller than those in controls. In adults, seminal vesicles secrete the fluid in semen," New Scientist magazine said.

Vom Saal said lower doses of bisphenol A used in the animal study were proportionally equivalent to the amount swallowed by patients in the first hour after treatment with a sealant containing the chemical.

Scientists suspect that bisphenol A may interfere with the body's endocrine system to cause reproductive problems.

The British arm of the World Wide Fund for Nature has written to the Department of Health seeking a re-evaluation of the use of bisphenol A, the magazine added.

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