Exposure in the womb to the ubiquitous plastic chemical bisphenol A (BPA) is associated with behavioral and emotional problems in young girls, according to a study led by researchers at Harvard School of Public Health. The new work follows on from past studies that connected BPA with other serious long-term effects on female development.
Most people living in industrialized nations are exposed to BPA throughout the day. BPA has been shown to interfere with normal development in animals and has been linked with cardiovascular disease and diabetes in people.
In this new study, published in Pediatrics, lead author Joe Braun and his colleagues found that gestational BPA exposure was associated with more behavioral problems at age 3, especially in girls.
Braun says that after adjusting for possible contributing factors, increasing gestational BPA concentrations were associated with more hyperactive, aggressive, anxious, and depressed behavior and poorer emotional control and inhibition in the girls.
The study confirms two prior studies showing that exposure to BPA in the womb impacts child behavior, but is the first to show that in utero exposures are more impactful than exposures during childhood. "Gestational, but not childhood BPA exposures, may impact neurobehavioral function, and girls appear to be more sensitive to BPA than boys," Braun said.
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Source: Harvard School of Public Health