From Green Right Now Reports
Behavioral and emotional problems in young girls are being linked to their exposure to the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) – a common chemical found in plastics – while still in the womb, according to a new study released today in Pediatrics.
BPA, used in everything from plastic food containers to the linings of food cans, already is known to interfere with the body’s hormone functions. And in girls, BPA is suspected of causing abnormal or premature sexual development.
In this new study, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health, Vancouver’s Simon Fraser University and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Medical Center looked at data from 244 mothers and their children from pre-birth through age 3. Nearly all women showed measurable BPA levels, as do most Americans. The mothers’ increasingly high urine levels during pregnancy were linked with worse behavior in their daughters.
Preschool-aged girls whose mothers had shown relatively high urine levels of BPA during pregnancy had worse cases of anxiety and hyperactivity. No such problems were found in boys.
The study did not find the same deleterious effects of BPA for children exposed to the chemical as toddlers. From the study’s conclusion:
The results of this study suggest that gestational BPA exposure might be associated with anxious, depressive, and hyperactive behaviors related to impaired behavioral regulation at 3 years of age. This pattern was more pronounced for girls, which suggests that they might be more vulnerable to gestational BPA exposure than boys. In contrast, childhood BPA exposure did not exhibit associations with behavior and executive function at 3 years of age.