Prenatal BPA Exposure Linked to Behavioral IssuesOct 6, 2009 | Parker Waichman LLP
Bisphenol A—BPA—has, yet again, been linked to adverse effects, this time in young children. According to Science News, girls whose mothers were exposed to BPA in early pregnancy trimesters, were more aggressive than most, while boys exhibited more anxiety and were withdrawn. The emerging study is the first to link BPA exposure in early pregnancy with behavior issues, by gender, said Science News.
The girls, said the researchers, were more masculinized, while the boys had a similar effect and appeared more feminized, said Science News. It is possible that “gender-establishing hormones” were blocked, said the study leader, which is actually a defeminization of the girls and demasculinization of the boys.
BPA, a toxic component used in plastic manufacture that hardens the material, has long been connected to a wide variety of adverse effects, including increased risks of brain, reproductive, cardiac, and immune system diseases and disorders; problems with liver function testing; interruptions in chemotherapy treatment; and links with serious health problems. Studies have overwhelmingly found BPA to have negative effects at doses lower than the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) current standards; retention in the body longer than was previously believed; leeching into liquids being held in containers regardless of the containers’ temperature; and longer lasting damage, which can be passed to future generations. Over 200 peer-reviewed studies have linked BPA to health problems.
According to Bruce Lanphear of Simon Faser University in Burnaby, British Columbia, said Science News, it remains unclear if the behavioral effects of BPA exposure on early development are long-term or not. Lanphear, an epidemiologist and study author, expressed concern that children would not grow out of the behaviors and that such behaviors could impact a wide cross-section of children and lead to delinquency, depression, or anxiety, reported Science News. As has been mentioned on this site previously, Science Daily noted that studies on lab rodent pups suggest links between BPA and aggression and hyperactivity.
The study, nicknamed HOME—Health Outcomes and Measures of the Environment—has been conducted by Lanphear and colleagues at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center for a number of years and has been primarily concerned with neurobehavioral risks resulting from lead exposures in early childhood, said Science News. The team looked at women in early pregnancy, following them through the births and into school; the children are now between three and five years of age, according to Science Daily.
As part of the research, Lanphear, with Joe Braun of the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, and their colleagues from Cincinnati and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) looked for BPA impacts in a subset of 249 randomly selected mother-infant pairs. Nearly all—over 99 percent—the women tested positive for BPA exposure during no less than one of three urine tests conducted during their pregnancies, said Science News, with 90 percent containing “detectible” levels. One woman’s levels spiked at a massive 1,250 for reasons that remain unclear, added Science News.
The study also pointed to IQ drops linked to environmental childhood lead exposures in the U.S., according to Lanphear, who noted that demographically, losses are significant, according to Science News. Also, said Science News, another study suggests BPA exposure is linked to a newly discovered, and somewhat surprising source: Thermally printed cash register receipts.