In a new study published online on February 24, 2015 in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Research, Roen and colleagues link bisphenol A (BPA, CAS 80-05-7) exposure to behavioral problems in children. The researchers previously reported that prenatal BPA exposure may affect behavior of children aged 3–5 years in a sex-specific manner. In this study, they explore whether this sex-specific pattern is observed in the same children now aged 7–9 years. Minority mothers (N=370) living in New York City, U.S. provided urine samples during pregnancy for BPA measurement.  A total of 271 children were followed through ages 7–9 years and also provided urine samples. To assess behavioral problems of the children, the researchers administered the Child Behavioral Checklist (CBCL). Consistent with the previous results at ages 3–5 years, the observed associations of prenatal BPA exposure and CBCL scores differed between girls and boys. In girls, higher prenatal exposure to BPA was associated with lower behavioral symptom scores. Such scores are significant for withdrawn/depressed symptoms and internalizing problems. That means an individual has a difficulty coping with negative emotions or stress and as a result they direct their feelings inward. In boys, on the other hand, high prenatal BPA levels were associated with increased scores that are characterized by e.g., rule-breaking and aggressive behavior, and both internalizing and externalizing behavior (directed toward others). The authors also found that postnatal BPA exposure had the opposite effects, as it was associated with more behavioral problems amongst girls but fewer amongst boys. The authors stress that these results raise concern about the pervasiveness of BPA and its potential adverse health effects resulting from prenatal and early-life exposures.

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Roen, E.L. et al. (2015). “Bisphenol A exposure and behavioral problems among inner city children at 7–9 years of age.Environmental Research (published online February 24, 2015).