ACC Criticizes New Pediatric BPA Study

October 24, 2011

A new study regarding unwanted side effects of biphenol A (BPA) has "significant shortcomings", the American Chemistry Council (ACC) reported today.

The ACC is referring to a study conducted in southwestern Ohio claiming that exposure in the womb to bisphenol A (BPA) causes behavior and emotional problems in young girls. The study was performed by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), Cincinnati Children's Hospital and Medical Center, and Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The researchers collected data from 244 mothers and their 3-year-old children. Mothers provided three urine samples during pregnancy and at birth that were tested for BPA. Their children were tested each year from ages 1 to 3. When the children were 3 years old, the mothers completed surveys about their children's behavior.

Lead author Joe Braun, research fellow in environmental health at HSPH, commented:  "None of the children had clinically abnormal behavior, but some children had more behavior problems than others. Thus, we examined the relationship between the mom's and children's BPA concentrations and the different behaviors."

BPA was detected in over 85% of the urine samples from the mothers and over 96% of the children's urine samples. The researchers found that maternal BPA concentrations were similar between the first sample and birth. The children's BPA levels decreased from ages 1 to 3, but were higher and more variable than that of their mothers.

The researchers said that increasing gestational BPA concentrations were associated with more hyperactive, aggressive, anxious, and depressed behavior and poorer emotional control and inhibition in the girls. This relationship was not seen in the boys.

The results were published on-line today in Pediatrics and titled "Impact of Early-Life Bisphenol A Exposure on Behavior and Executive Function in Children."

Steven G. Hentges, an ACC staff member representing  the  Polycarbonate/BPA Global Group, shot back: "For parents, the most important information from this report is that the authors themselves question its relevance: 'the clinical relevance of these findings is unclear at this point.' 

"ACC and its member companies strongly support research to advance scientific understanding about chemicals. The study released in Pediatrics has significant shortcomings in study design and the conclusions are of unknown relevance to public health. The researchers themselves acknowledge that it had statistical deficiencies, including its small sample size and the potential for the results being due to chance alone."

The Pacific Northwest study indicates that because of the way BPA is processed in the body it is very unlikely that it could cause health effects at any realistic exposure level, Hentges said.


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