Man boobs, also known as gynecomastia, is a condition that more and more male individuals are suffering from nowadays and is characterized by unusually large mammary glands. There are many factors that can lead to this condition, one of the most common ones being excessive estrogen actions.
Recently, it has been discovered that the cause behind man boobs may be a common chemical that is becoming quite difficult to escape: BPA. BPA is an acronym that stands for bisphenol-A, a chemical that is found in common items that people consume on a daily basis, such as canned foods and bottled water.
The journal Reproductive Toxicology published a study revealing that early exposure to this chemical could promote abnormal breast growth in both young and adult men. The study was conducted by researchers at the Center for Developmental and Regenerative Biology at Tufts University, who exposed male mice to very low doses of BPA. Their findings revealed that the mice went on to have enlarged mammary tissue in adulthood.
According to study author Laura Vandenberg, PhD, “this study provides additional evidence that the mammary gland is exceptionally sensitive to low doses of BPA when exposures occur during early development”. Vandenberg, a postdoctoral fellow of biology, also says that “what is different about this study is that it is the first to suggest that the male mammary gland could be affected by BPA exposures”.
In addition, the study shows clear evidence that environmental chemicals could be partially to blame for man boobs, a condition that not only causes physical discomfort, but can also lead to significant emotional distress.
It has been already shown that the BPA chemical plays a role in breast and prostate cancer. BPA has also been linked to heart and kidney damage, obesity, type 2 diabetes, as well as to behavioral issues. This chemical is currently produced at high rates – about 6 billion tones per year, worldwide. Given that a minuscule amount of BPA could cause significant damage, these quantities are simply outrageous.
Not only is BPA heavily produced, but it is now commonly used in consumer products that are actually invading our environment. This is where its effects where first noted. Currently, BPA is detected in air, sand and water, where it acts as a synthetic estrogen. Even the tiniest amount of it could alter the body’s ability to regulate natural bodily functions.
Even though there is plenty of evidence suggesting that BPA can cause problems in men, women and children alike, this issue is not expected to disappear anytime soon. More and more studies revealing low-dose problems with exposure to this chemical in laboratory animals keep on arising, as well as studies regarding BPA’s impacts on the metabolic and immune systems, reproduction, and brain development.
Fortunately, several states have already started to take measures to remove BPA from baby bottles, sippy cups, or the lining of baby formula cans. However, researchers believe that this is only a small step in solving the problem. This is because the most damaging exposure happens prenatally, which means that if a pregnant woman ingests the chemical, it could cause damage in her baby that may not show up for years.
If you want to protect your family from exposure to BPA chemicals and replacements, there are some things you could do. You could start by avoiding to eat and drink from plastic containers. If you must use these, make sure never to heat the plastic in the dishwasher or microwave, since this will only accelerate chemical leaching. Also, you should get rid of receipts you don’t need or use, since BPA – or potentially harmful BPA replacements – are used to coat the paper, therefore they can seep into your skin. Another way of reducing your exposure to hormone-disrupting chemicals is choosing fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, as well as other foods that are not canned.