Anti-bisphenol A (BPA) crusaders continue their march, charging that the plastic additive is responsible for a slew of adverse health effects. This, despite overwhelming endorsements of its safety from scientific authorities worldwide and an absence of evidence of adverse health effects in the real world. The latest foray comes from a new study published in the journal Pediatrics, which looks at a tenuous link between maternal urinary concentrations of BPA during pregnancy and increases in young children s behavioral problems.
In this latest salvo, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health and elsewhere analyzed urine samples from 244 women at two different points during their pregnancies, followed by an annual urine specimen from their offspring through the age of three. They found that each tenfold increase in gestational urinary BPA concentration was associated with an increase in anxiety, depression, and problems with emotional control among the 3-year-old toddlers. The effects, however, were only found among girls. Among the young boys, there was a trend towards improvement in several of these same parameters.
However, due to the study s modest sample size and low statistical power to test for such interactions, the researchers caution that an as-yet-unidentified confounding factor could also be responsible for the observed results.
And this, says ACSH s Dr. Gilbert Ross, is most likely what s really happening in the study. There is absolutely no biological plausibility to explain why girls would be more adversely affected than boys, he says. There s no way that testing urine BPA levels twice during pregnancy has anything to do with measuring true exposure to the compound, since BPA is excreted over the course of a few hours and is not accumulated in the body. The whole methodology is flawed.
More importantly, as he reminds us, the scientific consensus has found that environmental exposure to the compound is not associated with any adverse health effects.