RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—Bisphenol A (BPA), that ubiquitous chemical that has cropped up in baby bottles, plastic and aluminum water bottles, and cans of soup, has been linked to a wide variety of health problems, such as hormone disruption, heart disease, and obesity. A new study published in Environmental Health Perspectives suggests that it might play a role in psychological development, as well, specifically in triggering aggressive behavior in children.
THE DETAILS: Animal studies have already shown that BPA can lead to aggressive behavior. So to see if it had the same effect in humans, researchers measured urinary concentrations of BPA in 249 pregnant women at three points during their pregnancies—16 weeks, 26 weeks, and after giving birth. Then, when the children were 2 years old, they underwent behavioral assessment tests. The researchers found that high levels of BPA were linked to aggressive behavior, but the links were stronger if the mothers had had high levels of BPA earlier on in their pregnancies, at 16 weeks, than if the levels were higher at 26 weeks or at birth. Also, the higher 16-week concentrations of BPA seemed to trigger more instances of aggressive girls than boys.
Read more about BPA:
"BPA Free" Products May Still Contain BPA
Common Chemical Linked to a Slew of Health Problems
A Chemical Threat Gains New Urgency
Questionable Chemical Could Seep Into Your Soda
Chemical in Plastics May be Especially Harmful to Women
WHAT IT MEANS: Bisphenol A has garnered a great deal of attention, with a few U.S. states and Canada banning its use in baby products. However, such bans may be too little, too late, in some regards, says lead study author Bruce Lanphear, MD, MPH, professor of health sciences at Simon Fraser University and senior scientist at the Child and Family Research Institute at British Columbia Children's Hospital. "Our study would suggest that if you want to protect children from real impact of BPA, we have to prevent exposures during pregnancy," he says. "It's these early exposures that might be more problematic."