Male mouse fetuses exposed to estrogen-like chemicals in oral contraceptives and plastic food containers developed deformities in the urethra and prostate, researchers report.
Frederick vom Saal and colleagues tested two estrogenic chemicals: ethinylestradiol, which is found in oral contraceptives, and bisphenol A, which is found in polycarbonate plastic products and the lining of tin cans.
Research has shown that it is possible for human fetuses to be exposed to these chemicals in very low doses, the authors say. The researchers fed pregnant mice estrogenic chemicals at doses below the range pregnant women are exposed to. They found that male fetuses of the exposed pregnant mice developed more and larger ducts in their prostate and a narrowing of the urethra at the bladder neck.
These findings may have implications for humans, the authors say, especially regarding prostate cancer and bladder diseases in adult male children of exposed women. According to the authors, women who become pregnant despite using oral contraceptives may pass ethinylestradiol to their fetus. Also, the authors say that bisphenol A leaches into food and beverages under normal conditions of use in tin cans and polycarbonate plastic containers.
PNAS Special Feature: Chemical Theory and Computation
PNAS presents a collection of articles publishing online next week in PNAS Early Edition and in print on May 10, devoted to chemical theory and computation.
Over the past three decades, researchers have increasingly used computer simulations and modeling in structural biology and materials science to study molecular, protein, and fluid dynamics at a variety of scales. Exponential leaps in computing power and the development of new computational platforms have led to this research surge, in addition to innovative formulations of physical theories amenable to numerical simula
Contact: Leikny Johnson
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)