BPA Exposure Linked to Behavior Problems in Girls

UM doctor says dangers of BPA exposure are highest during pregnancy

A new study finds pregnancy women should beware of exposure to BPA, a chemical found in recyclable plastic bottles with the number seven, thermal receipts, and the lining of cans -- just to name a few products.

"It does show that an increase of BPA in mothers has a subsequent outcome on their babies," said University of Miami obstetrician Dr. Michael Stine.

UM's Chairman of Pediatrics Dr. Steve Lipshultz says while the focus in recent years has been on removing BPA from baby bottles and baby products, more danger lurks while children are in the womb.

"The real period of vulnerability where child development and subsequent course may be most affected is before birth," he said. 

Researchers studied 240 pregnant women and found high levels of BPA  exposure led to behavior problems at age three.

In girls, in they found depression, anxiety, hyperactivity and aggression.  Dr. Lipshultz says the link is thanks to estrogen. 

"BPA binds with estrogen receptors, and when this is found in higher levels like this, it affects the structures of the brain that might be more dependent o the level of estrogen that's present," he said.

Christina Gross, a South Miami mother of two, has been working on reducing her and her family's exposure to BPA.

"I just try to buy all plastic products BPA free, try to avoid anything that doesn't say it -- because obviously they're not going to say if they do contain BPA. So I just try to avoid it," she said. "I don't know much about it, but I know it's not good for the kids."

The American Chemistry Council responded to the study with both skepticism and tips to avoid BPA. 

"Because of the way BPA  is processed in the body,  it is very unlikely that BPA could cause health effects at any realistic exposure level," the ACC said. "To reduce BPA exposure during pregnancy,  expectant mothers can drink from a glass as often as possible, use only glass containers in the microwave, and avoid canned food."

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