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Behavioral Problems Possibly Linked to BPA

Posted Oct 24 2011 3:36pm

Canned foods

Researchers discover link between BPA and sequential behavior issues

Another rising concern on BPA is discovered by researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Cincinnati Children’s Medical Center and several other institutions. That infamous Bisphenol A (BPA) the chemical which is in numerous products such as food and beverage containers suggests that prenatal exposure is associated to behavioral and emotional problems in children three years old.

This new study published in this weeks Pediatrics medical journal had discovered Cincinnati girls exposed to greater levels of BPA prior to birth had greater behavioral problems, more anxious and are more over-active in comparison to those exposed to smaller amounts of BPA.

BPA and the harm it causes in children’s development has been the controversy for many years. Some child and environmental experts attest that these findings reinforce the argument that BPA is harmful to a child’s development.

Researchers had measured BPA levels in urine among 244 women occurring at different times in their pregnancy along with the urine in their children at one, two and three years of age.

Researchers discovered 97% of the urine samples contained BPA. They also had found a link between BPA exposure and sequential behavior.

Dr. Joseph Braun, PhD, Research Fellow in the Department of Environmental Health at Harvard and author of this study stated nearly all women and children had BPA traces in their urine. A great number were typically developing children and did not meet the criteria for behavioral problems.

Researchers had parents fill out a survey on their children’s depression, anxiety, and hyper-activity, aggression along with any other behavioral problems or trouble controlling emotions when they were age three.

A score of fifty on the surveys represents an average child, those increases between nine and twelve points “fairly sizeable effect” that parents most likely would notice.

Researchers had taken into account if moms were depressed during pregnancy, their race, income, education and martial status.

Dr. Admir Miodovnik, Instructor of Preventive Medicine and Pediatrics at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, estimates that a score of 65 would be in the “concerning range”.

Dr. Braun related to Reuter’s Health that the studies findings do not prove BPA exposure in the womb causes behavioral problems. Further noting it may be caused by women’s consumption of more processed, canned and packaged foods and less consumption of nutrients that are vital to brain development.

However, he does note the growing amount of evidence that does appear to suggest that what you are exposed to and what occurs during gestation can set up your life course. He further notes the brain developments extremely early in pregnancy and disruptions in development may have lasting effects across not only childhood but a lifetime.

Dr. Steven Lipshultz, chair of pediatrics at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine, notes that these findings are concerning. Over the last 20 years there has been a real increase in children with the diagnosis of ADHD.  He also remarks it is way too early to confirm if there is a cause and effect association between BPA and developmental issues in children.

Past research has shown that BPA seeping from cans and plastics into food have been linked to infertility, cancer, heart disease, breast cancer, prostate cancer, obesity, early puberty in girls, and ADHD.

Just last month it was reported that those favorite popular can meals for kids when tested had an average BPA of 49 parts each million. You can read the research at the Breast Cancer Fund.

To date the FDA has made no definitive decisions on BPA as they are still waiting further evidence. Regardless of the FDA sit and wait for evidence rule this has not stopped many states from acting on their own. Minnesota is just one of the states that are taking action by entering laws in which prohibit sales of infant bottles, sippy cups, food or drink containers in which have BPA.

The Breast Cancer Fund launched a campaign called “Cans not Cancer” in hopes of manufactures of canned foods replace the cans with BPA and use much safer alternatives which are not linked with disease.

Dr. John Spangler, Wake Forest School of Medicine suggests using fresh or dried pasta and sauce from glass jars. Purchase more fresh fruit and vegetables to cut down on cans and BPA exposure.

Do you believe there is enough evidence on BPA exposure that the government should take action?

List of ten canned foods to avoid in order decreasing exposure

Coconut milk




Meals (such as canned pasta in sauce)




Milk replacement drinks


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