Prenatal Bisphenol A Exposure and Child Behavior in an Inner-City Cohort
Background: Experimental laboratory evidence suggests that bisphenol A (BPA), an endocrine disruptor, is a neurodevelopmental toxicant. However, there have been limited and inconclusive results with respect to sex-specific BPA effects on child behavior.
Objective: We examined the association between prenatal BPA exposure and child behavior, adjusting for postnatal BPA exposure and hypothesizing sex-specific effects.
Methods: We followed African-American and Dominican women and their children from pregnancy to child’s age 5 years, collecting spot urine samples from the mothers during pregnancy (34 weeks on average) and from children between 3 and 4 years of age to estimate BPA exposure. We assessed child behavior between 3 and 5 years of age using the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) and used generalized linear models to test the association between BPA exposure and child behavior, adjusting for potential confounders.
Results: The analysis was conducted on 198 children (87 boys and 111 girls). Among boys, high prenatal BPA exposure (highest quartile vs. the lowest three quartiles) was associated with significantly higher CBCL scores (more problems) on Emotionally Reactive [1.62 times greater; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.13, 2.32] and Aggressive Behavior syndromes (1.29 times greater; 95% CI: 1.09, 1.53). Among girls, higher exposure was associated with lower scores on all syndromes, reaching statistical significance for Anxious/Depressed (0.75 times as high; 95% CI: 0.57, 0.99) and Aggressive Behavior (0.82 times as high; 95% CI: 0.70, 0.97).
Conclusion: These results suggest that prenatal exposure to BPA may affect child behavior, and differently among boys and girls.
Environ Health Perspect 120:1190-1194.
Dr. Reinhardt’s comments: A major study published in Environmental Health Perspectives has found that BPA (bisphenol A) exposure in pregnancy may cause aggressive behavior syndromes, emotional reactivity, anxiety, depression and other behaviors in the to-be-born child.
BPA a chemical used to make polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins. In September 2010, Canada became the first country to declare BPA a toxic substance. The FDA has not banned it except for use in baby bottles and sippy cups. BPA is used to make a variety of common products including water bottles, sports equipment, medical and dental devices, dental fillings and sealants, CDs and DVDs, household electronics, and eyeglass lenses. It is also used in the lining of metal cans, including beer cans and canned food.
Substantial scientific evidence shows BPA is an endocrine disruptor and neurodevelopmental toxicant. “BPA at concentrations found in the human body is associated with organizational changes in the prostate, breast, testis, mammary glands, body size, brain structure and chemistry, and behavior of laboratory animals.”
BPA has been shown to cause obesity, sexual development, interferes with brain cell connections vital to memory, learning, and mood, impacts various dopaminergic processes resulting in hyperactivity, attention deficits, and a heightened sensitivity to drugs of abuse, interfere with thyroid function, increases cancer risk, alters breast development and increases breast cancer risk, and is significantly associated with heart disease, diabetes, erectile dysfunction, and abnormally high levels of certain liver enzymes.
In the U.S., consumption of soda, school lunches, and meals prepared outside the home was statistically significantly associated with higher urinary BPA.
How to protect yourself:
1. Do not trust FDA pronouncements, the rest of the world can’t be wrong.
2. Avoid canned food.
3. Avoid plastic bowls, cups, dishes and tableware.
4. Always choose glass rather than aluminum cans, for sodas and beer.
5. Check labels.
Currently there are no BPA labeling requirements for plastics. In general, plastics that are marked with recycle codes 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6 are very unlikely to contain BPA.
Some, but not all, plastics that are marked with recycle codes 3 or 7 may be made with BPA. Rigid PVC pipe, windows and siding is generally safe, but avoid flexible and soft PVC often used in toys.
You can find the study “Prenatal Bisphenol A Exposure and Child Behavior in an Inner-City Cohort” online at http://ehp03.niehs.nih.gov/article/fetchArticle.action?articleURI=info%3Adoi%2F10.1289%2Fehp.1104492
A great source for the facts about nutrition and behavior can be found at http://centerforhealthscience.com/