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Hard-Plastic Bottles: Unlucky No. 7

If that hard-plastic water bottle the man of the house totes to the gym is stamped with a 7—indicating it contains bisphenol A (BPA)—he may be sinking his swimmers. Also found in the linings of food and beverage cans and baby bottles, the compound was recently linked with poor semen quality in a study of Chinese factory workers. The higher the levels of BPA in their urine, the lower their sperm count, concentration, vitality, and motility. If you think you have nothing in common with Chinese factory workers, keep in mind that even low levels of BPA—comparable with those in men in the general U.S. population—were associated with sub-par sperm.

So, should couples trying to conceive avoid eating and drinking from BPA containers? "Absolutely," says the study's lead author, epidemiologist De-Kun Li of Kaiser Permanente's Division of Research in Oakland, California. "It is not only bad for fertility; BPA could have adverse effects on the unborn fetus as well."

Source: "Urine bisphenol-A (BPA) level in relation to semen quality," Fertility and Sterility (October 2010)
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