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Plastics and how they can impact your fertility

May 2023

Plastics are known endocrine disruptor (chemicals that interfere with our hormonal system). And we need our sex hormones (oestrogen, progesterone, testosterone) working at their best for both male and female fertility.


Bisphenols (BPA/BPS/BPF) are widely used in plastic products to make them strong and resilient, think plastic bottles, food containers, tinned foods, hygiene products and receipts to name a few. They are known to leech into our foods and that’s when they can disrupt our hormones. 


In men, ingestion of these plastics can reduce sperm quality and increase sperm DNA damage. In women, bisphenols have a high affinity for oestrogen receptors and can mimic oestrogen behaviour, disrupting the hormonal balance. This may lead to menstrual irregularities, reduced egg quality, reduced ovarian reserve and has also been linked with PCOS and Endometriosis. 


There are many products out there now labelled BPA-free, but the BPA is often replaced by BPS or BPF and they have a similar (if not worse) effect.


So what should you do? 


  • Avoid plastics as much as possible, swap out your plastic bottles and containers for glass. 


  • Bin your old Tupperware and replace with glass, they’ll last forever (unless you drop them!). However, this can be a big expense in one go, so check your plastic containers, if they have any scratches or melted parts, these are the ones to go first! While you're transitioning from plastic to glass don’t heat food in them and always wash by hand, the heat from the dishwasher can melt parts which then increases the amount leeching into your food. 


  • Ditch the bottled water for filtered and drink from a glass. If you’re on the go - use a metal bottle with filtered water. 


  • Avoid tinned foods where you can and opt for those in glass jars or cardboard cartons. BPA can be found in the plastic lining inside tinned foods, used to stop the tins from rusting, but the BPA can leech into the food. 

We can't avoid plastics but we can reduce our exposure - and that could make all the difference!


  • D’Angelo, S., & Meccariello, R. (2021). Microplastics: A Threat for Male Fertility. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(5), 2392.

  • Kawa, I. A., Masood, A., Fatima, Q., Mir, S. A., Jeelani, H., Manzoor, S., & Rashid, F. (2021). Endocrine disrupting chemical Bisphenol A and its potential effects on female health. Diabetes & Metabolic Syndrome: Clinical Research & Reviews, 15(3), 803–811.

  • Pivonello, C., Muscogiuri, G., Nardone, A., Garifalos, F., Provvisiero, D. P., Verde, N., de Angelis, C., Conforti, A., Piscopo, M., Auriemma, R. S., Colao, A., & Pivonello, R. (2020). Bisphenol A: an emerging threat to female fertility. Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology : RB&E, 18.

  • Stavridis, K., Triantafyllidou, O., Pisimisi, M., & Vlahos, N. (2022). Bisphenol-A and Female Fertility: An Update of Existing Epidemiological Studies. Journal of Clinical Medicine, 11(23), 7227–7227.

  • Zhang, C., Chen, J., Ma, S., Sun, Z., & Wang, Z. (2022). Microplastics May Be a Significant Cause of Male Infertility. American Journal of Men’s Health, 16(3), 155798832210965.

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