Bisphenol A makes girls hyperactive and aggressive

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Bisphenol A causes significant behavioral problems in girls

Girls who were exposed to the chemical softener bisphenol A during their mothers' pregnancy tend to be aggressive, hyperactive, anxious and depressed behavior later in life.

The plasticizer bisphenol A (BPA) contained in many plastic products has numerous negative effects on the human organism and is considered a significant health risk, especially for children. Now researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health have found that bisphenol A can also cause behavior problems in unborn girls later in life.

Bisphenol A has a hormonal effect The chemical bisphenol A has a hormonal effect in the human body similar to that of the female hormone estrogen. Due to the intervention in the hormonal balance, BPA has numerous negative health effects, as numerous older studies confirm. Based on previous scientific studies, the plasticizer BPA is considered to cause ovarian diseases (polycystic ovary syndrome), damaging to fertility in men and women (bisphenol-A leads to infertility in women), potentially impairing brain development and possibly being carcinogenic. In addition, scientists from Harvard University (USA) have already been able to demonstrate in previous studies that BPA damages the maturation of egg cells and also negatively influences the course of pregnancy.

Since March 2011, manufacturers of baby bottles are no longer allowed to use bisphenol A for production in Germany due to the health risks, and trading in BPA-contaminated baby bottles has been prohibited in Germany since June. So far, however, the legislature has not been able to achieve more extensive regulations and so BPA is still used for the production of plastic and synthetic resins and is included, for example, in the coating of most cans, but also in plastic drinking bottles. According to the experts, BPA can be detected in the blood of almost every person in Germany today. As a result, pregnant women and children hardly have any chance of completely avoiding the intake of BPA.

96 percent of children had BPA in the body The researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health examined the effects of BPA on 244 mothers and their children from the Cincinnati region (USA). The scientists around study leader Joe Braun have published their results in the current issue of the specialist journal "Pediatrics". The participating women submitted two urine samples during pregnancy and gave another sample at the birth date. All urine samples were tested for bishpenol A concentration by the US scientists. The researchers also checked the BPA levels in children up to the age of three each year. After the little ones had reached the age of three, the mothers were also asked about their children's behavior. Researchers discovered BPA in more than 85 percent of mothers' urine samples and detected the dangerous chemical in over 96 percent of children. The values ​​of the mothers between the first and the last sample remained roughly constant over time, whereas the BPA exposure in the children even decreased between the first and third year of life. However, the children often had significantly higher concentrations than their mothers. "None of the children showed clinically abnormal behavior" due to the BPA exposure, "but some children had greater behavioral problems than others," explained Joe Braun in the current "Pediatrics" article.

Behavioral problems caused by BPA In the context of their current study, the US researchers therefore investigated “the relationship between bisphenol A values ​​in mothers and children and abnormal behavior” in more detail. They found that the daughters of women with high BPA levels during pregnancy were more likely to be hyperactive, aggressive, anxious, or depressed. The affected girls had their emotions under control much less than the daughters of women with low BPA levels, write Braun and colleagues. There are no comparable effects in boys, according to the US researchers. The connection between the behavioral problems and the BPA concentration was also confirmed taking other influencing factors into account.

Numerous health risks from bisphenol A The study by the Havard scientists makes a further contribution to uncovering the health risks associated with the plasticizer BPA. In addition, the current results confirm the findings of two previous studies that had already found a possible connection between bisphenol A in the womb and the later behavior of the children. For the first time, however, it has now been shown that exposure to BPA in the womb has more serious consequences than exposure to BPA later in life, the US researchers explained. In general, the health effects of BPA should be considerable and since the connections between bisphenol A and developmental disorders have not been fully researched so far, it is best for consumers to avoid coated tins, foodstuffs packed in plastic or plastic bottles with the recycling number seven, the experts warn . A general ban - which seems entirely desirable in the interests of consumers - will probably not be delayed for some time, not least due to the strong influence of the plastic lobby in the EU, or will only take place in cases of doubt when even more serious consequences of the BPA become known . (fp)

Read on:
Environmentalists: BPA ban completely inadequate
Ban on bisphenol-A in baby bottles
Lobbyists prevent bisphenol-A ban
Study: Girls getting sexually mature earlier
Hormone-active chemicals threaten health

Image: Helene Souza /

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