In Utero Bisphenol A Exposure Impacts Toddler's Behavior

Girls more prone to impaired behavioral, emotional regulation due to gestational BPA exposure

MONDAY, Oct. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Bisphenol A (BPA) exposure during pregnancy is associated with anxious and depressed behavior and impaired emotional regulation at 3 years of age, especially among girls, according to a study published online Oct. 24 in Pediatrics.

Joe M. Braun, M.S.P.H., Ph.D., from Harvard University in Boston, and colleagues investigated the impact of gestational and childhood BPA exposure on behavior and executive function at 3 years of age, and whether the associations differed by child gender in a birth cohort of 244 mothers with their 3-year-old offspring. Mean BPA concentrations in maternal urine at 16 and 26 weeks of gestation and at birth, and in child urine at 1, 2, and 3 years of age characterized gestational and childhood BPA exposures, respectively. The Behavior Assessment System for Children 2 (BASC-2) and the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function-Preschool (BRIEF-P) were used to evaluate behavior and executive function.

The investigators detected BPA in more than 97 percent of the gestational and childhood urine samples. Each 10-fold increase in gestational BPA concentration correlated with more anxious and depressed behavior on the BASC-2, and poorer inhibition and emotional control on the BRIEF-P, after adjustment for confounders. The size of gestational BPA associations differed based on the child's gender, with increases of nine- to 12 points in the BASC-2 and BRIEF-P scores among girls, and null or negative changes among boys. Correlations between childhood BPA exposure and neurobehavior were not influenced by child gender and were largely null.

"Gestational BPA exposure affected behavioral and emotional regulation domains at 3 years of age, especially among girls," the authors write.

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