Perinatal exposure to low doses of bisphenol A affects body weight, patterns of estrous cyclicity, and plasma LH levels

Environ Health Perspect. 2001 Jul;109(7):675-80. doi: 10.1289/ehp.01109675.


The nonsteroidal estrogenic compound bisphenol A (BPA) is a monomer used in the manufacture of polycarbonate plastics and resins. BPA may be ingested by humans as it reportedly leaches from the lining of tin cans into foods, from dental sealants into saliva, and from polycarbonate bottles into their contents. Because BPA is weakly estrogenic--approximately 10,000-fold less potent than 17beta-estradiol--current environmental exposure levels have been considered orders of magnitude below the dose required for adverse effects on health. Herein we demonstrate measurable effects on the offspring of Sprague-Dawley female rats that were exposed, via their drinking water, to approximately 0.1 mg BPA/kg body weight (bw)/day (low dose) or 1.2 mg BPA/kg bw/day (high dose) from day 6 of pregnancy through the period of lactation. Offspring exposed to BPA exhibited an increase in body weight that was apparent soon after birth and continued into adulthood. In addition, female offspring exposed perinatally to the high dose of BPA exhibited altered patterns of estrous cyclicity and decreased levels of plasma luteinizing hormone (LH) in adulthood. Administration of neither the doses of BPA that caused effects during perinatal exposure nor a 10-fold higher dose was able to evoke a uterotropic response in ovariectomized postpubertal females. These data indicate an increased sensitivity to BPA during the perinatal period and suggest the need for careful evaluation of the current levels of exposure to this compound.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Benzhydryl Compounds
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Estrogens, Non-Steroidal / administration & dosage
  • Estrogens, Non-Steroidal / adverse effects*
  • Estrus / drug effects*
  • Estrus / physiology
  • Female
  • Lactation
  • Male
  • Ovariectomy
  • Ovary / drug effects
  • Ovary / physiology
  • Phenols / administration & dosage
  • Phenols / adverse effects*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Benzhydryl Compounds
  • Estrogens, Non-Steroidal
  • Phenols
  • bisphenol A