I've read articles online claiming food or liquids that come in contact with plastic and then are consumed, lowers testosterone.

Articles I've read:



But then I've also read some articles somewhat contradicting this: http://theconversation.com/are-plastics-making-men-infertile-43751

I'm wondering if there are any studies that can give a final conclusion to this?

EDIT: I'm talking about plastics that we come in contact with every day. For example:

  • Plastic bottles
  • Plastic food containers
  • Plastic wrap around vegetables and meat
  • Plastic lining in cans
  • Plastic sanitary pipes in our homes (PVC)

Most of these plastics contain chemicals like BPA, DEHP or DBP. I'm curious if and how these chemicals (and potential other chemicals in the products listed) lower testosterone, when their contents are consumed.

  • 5
    The first link is about phthalates. The second is about phthalates, BPA, and other xenoestrogens. The third link is about phthalates. I wonder if we can safely restrict this question just to phthalates and the plastics that contain them, so responding becomes more feasible.
    – Oddthinking
    Sep 1, 2018 at 15:46
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    Oh, this is your first question? Welcome to Skeptics!
    – Oddthinking
    Sep 1, 2018 at 15:47
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    I understand, but because we come into contact with so many plastics (and the sorts of plastics that are used in food containers have changed over time), and they might emit so many chemicals, it is difficult to easily answer. The first and last links are far more specific. They talk about one particular chemical, so it is far more likely we can point to studies on that particular chemical to show whether or nor it is really emitted by plastics and whether or not it really affects testosterone.
    – Oddthinking
    Sep 1, 2018 at 16:23
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    "Plastic" is a much too wide categorisation of substances to be able to give any kind of definitive answer. For instance natural latex ("rubber") and Bakelite are both "plastic". You need to narrow the question down to some specific plastic substances or this question cannot be answered.
    – user32299
    Sep 4, 2018 at 9:21
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    I think it's more that they raise oestrogen levels than lower testosterone. I read several studies to that effect more that 10 years ago.
    – Richard
    Sep 4, 2018 at 23:43

1 Answer 1


In Bisphenol A may cause testosterone reduction by adversely affecting both testis and pituitary systems similar to estradiol Toxicology Letters, Volume 194,15 April 2010, Pages 16-25, it is reported that in rat studies Bisphenol A reduces testosterone levels in both testis and plasma by statistically significant amounts.

Both BPA and E2 treatments decreased plasma and testicular testosterone levels

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a monomer used to make polycarbonate, which is one type of plastic. Some BPA remains unpolymerized in the plastic, such as plastic bottles, and can leach out and be consumed (see BPA, chemical used to make plastics, found to leach from polycarbonate drinking bottles Into humans).

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    Also note: the rats in the study did not eat BPA, it was injected subcutaneously.
    – GEdgar
    Sep 4, 2018 at 15:04
  • @GEdgar ok, I added this reference hsph.harvard.edu/news/press-releases/… which is announcing this paper ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2737011
    – DavePhD
    Sep 4, 2018 at 15:41
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    How do the amounts in this study compare to the amounts we would ingest from food stored in plastic containers? Sep 5, 2018 at 6:33
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    @PaulJohnson In the first reference in the answer, 100mg/kg/day was the lowest level of BPA where testosterone was shown to decrease statistically significantly. This is much high than what would come from using polycarbonate to drink water.
    – DavePhD
    Sep 5, 2018 at 10:58
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    ...within the 6 weeks of the study. It's far too easy to assume (or dismiss) effects of long-term, low-dosage exposure based on short-term, high-dosage studies. I think the answer is good as-is; lifting actual dosage numbers into the answer would probably lead to just such assumptions, as opposed to the "we don't really know one way or the other" which is actually the case (barring the unearthing of applicable long-term studies).
    – DevSolar
    Sep 5, 2018 at 11:07

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