Aggression by age 2 may be tied to prenatal BPA exposure

November 1, 2009

Daughters born to women exposed in pregnancy to bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical found in polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resin, are more likely to exhibit aggressive and hyperactive behaviors as 2-year-olds.

Daughters born to women exposed in pregnancy to bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical found in polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resin, are more likely to exhibit aggressive and hyperactive behaviors as 2-year-olds, according to a study published online in Environmental Health Perspectives.

Joe M. Braun, MSPH, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and colleagues took urine samples of 249 pregnant women at 16 and 26 weeks gestation and at birth. Bisphenol A concentrations were quantified using high-performance liquid chromatography-isotope dilution-tandem mass spectrometry. Children of these mothers were assessed at 2 years of age using the Behavioral Assessment System for Children-2 (BASC-2). Researchers found that maternal BPA concentrations at 16 weeks were positively associated with BASC-2 externalizing scores, aggression, and hyperactivity and that the association, albeit not significant, was stronger in girls than in boys.

"The association between 16-week BPA concentrations and behavior problems was most apparent among women who had urine measurements taken ≤16 weeks gestation. The reported associations and interaction between child sex and timing of BPA exposure should be tempered with the potential for exposure misspecification, residual confounding, and limited statistical power," the authors stated.