The growing array of health issues linked to the polycarbonate plastics chemical bisphenol A (BPA) now includes behavior problems linked to tooth fillings.
Children receiving dental fillings containing BPA are likelier to suffer from behavioral and emotional problems in a few years following treatment, says a new study, led by Nancy Maserejian, from New England Research Institutes in Watertown, Massachusetts, said Reuters. Maserejian noted that dental fillings made using BPA are quite popular because they are the same color as teeth and more cosmetically appealing.
Experts describe the ubiquitous chemical as being an estrogenic mimicker and hormone disrupter. A combination of phenol and acetone, BPA leeches from food and beverage containers into foods, yet is FDA-approved for use in shatter-resistant polycarbonate plastic and durable epoxy resins used in food and beverage container linings. BPA leaches into products—hot or cold—and into the skin, from common items such as paper money, toilet paper, and receipts. Working as an anti-androgen, BPA blocks hormone activity; mimics the powerful female hormone, estrogen; and can interrupt sexual development and processes, especially in developing fetuses, infants, and children.
Maserejian and her team reviewed data on 534 children, ages six to 10, who had cavities and were randomly chosen to receive either amalgam (silver-colored) fillings or one of two so-called “composite” fillings, said Reuters. The chemical, BPA, was used in the manufacturing process of one of the composite fillings.
After five years, the parents and children responded to questions concerning anxiety and depression, attitude at school, and general behavior, and found that children with multiple fillings made with BPA, and who’d had those fillings long term, routinely scored two-six points worse on 100-point behavior measures than children with no BPA-containing fillings or who’d only had BPA-containing fillings for a short time, explained Reuters. Behavioral problems were significantly common in children with BPA-containing fillings on teeth with chewing surfaces. The study was published in the journal, Pediatrics, which supports the notion that some fillings might break down over time, leaching some chemicals.
Maserejian pointed out that the fillings contain BPA from the manufacturing process, although BPA is not supposed to be the fillings’ main ingredient, said Reuters. “We didn’t measure BPA, and we don’t know whether BPA was in (the fillings),” Maserejian told Reuters Health. “There are other chemicals used in these composites, and BPA isn’t directly used in them. We don’t really know what the health effects of these other chemicals are.” More research is needed, she said.
The studies on which we have written—and hundreds have been conducted—have linked BPA to a wide and growing range of health effects that seem to affect nearly every bodily system. BPA has been linked to brain tumors and some hormone-sensitive cancers, including of the breast and prostate. One study suggests that BPA side effects—specifically on brain and social behaviors—are immediate, long lasting, and trans-generational, meaning effects could carry years into the future. BPA has been linked to cardiac issues and fat cell confusion and pancreatic issues relating to diabetes. Studies have linked BPA to increased anxiety and depression, brain cell connection interference and interruptions in chemotherapy treatment, increased risks of immune system diseases and disorders, and liver function testing and intestinal problems.
BPA’s links to reproductive system diseases are staggering and span to fetal development, likely due to its hormone-mimicking and -blocking properties. Issues include effects on uterine health and mammalian reproduction; a deadly uterine infection; premature puberty; Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and other female fertility and endocrine issues; and erectile dysfunction and male sexual problems.