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Prenatal exposure to BPA in plastics makes young girls aggressive

Tuesday, November 03, 2009 by: S. L. Baker, features writer
Tags: BPA, health news, Natural News

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(NaturalNews) How's this for a B movie sci fi plot: evil scientists use chemicals to transform toddler girls into terrifying little monsters. Unfortunately, researchers have uncovered a real life scenario that has some serious similarities to this creepy fantasy. While there are no evil doing scientists or true monsters involved, there is a scary chance that a common chemical -- specifically bisphenol A (BPA) found in many plastics -- could be causing unusually aggressive and hyperactive behaviors in some two-year-old little girls.

That's the conclusion of research by scientists at Simon Fraser University, the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill and Cincinnati Children's Hospital. As NaturalNews previously reported, BPA has been linked to neurological problems in animal studies (http://www.naturalnews.com/025801_BPA_plasti...). But the new research, just published in the October edition of the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, is the first to find a possible link between prenatal BPA exposure and behavior problems in human youngsters.

For the study, BPA concentrations were measured from urine samples taken from 249 pregnant women in Cincinnati, Ohio, at 16 weeks and 26 weeks of pregnancy, and also when they gave birth. When the research subjects' children were two years old, the research team assessed the toddlers' behavior using the Behavioral Assessment System for Children-2 (BASC-2). What they found is disturbing: if a woman was exposed to BPA during early pregnancy and she had a girl, the baby's nervous system might be adversely affected by the chemical.

Specifically, daughters of women who had higher concentrations of BPA in their urine samples during pregnancy were more likely to have aggressive and hyperactive behaviors than girls born to women with lower BPA levels, especially if higher exposure occurred in earlier pregnancy. The researchers don't understand why girls seem to be affected by BPA exposure more or differently than boys.

"In other words, girls whose mothers had higher BPA exposure were more likely to act like boys than girls whose mothers had lower BPA levels, especially if the exposure was seen earlier in pregnancy," the study's lead author Joe Braun, a doctoral student in epidemiology at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, said in a statement to the media. "Boys' behavior did not seem to be affected, although there was some evidence of increased internalizing scores among BPA-exposed boys."

"We wanted to know if there was a risk in humans for neurodevelopment problems," he added. "Study results indicate that exposure to BPA early in the pregnancy seems to be the most critical issue. The most damaging exposure might happen before a woman even knows she's pregnant."

Concerns about BPA were first raised in recent years following worrisome animal studies. For example, previous research with mice found that the offspring of mothers with high BPA exposure during pregnancy were more aggressive than young mice not exposed to high prenatal levels of BPA.

"Many government agencies and consumers in the U.S., Canada and around the world have expressed concerns about BPA exposure, especially in children," said Dr. Bruce Lanphear, professor of children's environmental health in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University and the study's senior author, in the media statement. "Canada has banned BPA in baby bottles and other baby products, but that might not be sufficient to protect children. Although this is the first study of its kind, it suggests that we may also need to reduce exposures during pregnancy."

BPA is commonly used in the production of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins that are found in many homes, offices and even hospitals. It is used in a host of products including plastic bottles, canned food linings, water supply pipes and medical tubing. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 93 percent of people in the United States have detectible levels of BPA in their urine.

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