The Korea Herald


BPA in pregnant women might affect kids' behavior


Published : Oct. 24, 2011 - 13:44

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CHICAGO (AP) — Exposure to BPA before birth could affect girls' behavior at age 3, according to the latest study on potential health effects of the widespread chemical.

Preschool-aged girls whose mothers had relatively high urine levels of bisphenol-A during pregnancy scored worse but still within a normal range on behavior measures including anxiety and hyperactivity than other young girls.

The results are not conclusive and experts not involved in the study said factors other than BPA might explain the results. The researchers acknowledge that "considerable debate" remains about whether BPA is harmful, but say their findings should prompt additional research.

The researchers measured BPA in 244 Cincinnati-area mothers' urine twice during pregnancy and at childbirth. The women evaluated their children at age 3 using standard behavior questionnaires.

Nearly all women had measurable BPA levels, like most Americans. But increasingly high urine levels during pregnancy were linked with increasingly worse behavior in their daughters. Boys' behavior did not seem to be affected.

The researchers said if BPA can cause behavior changes that could pose academic and social problems for girls already at risk for those difficulties.

"These subtle shifts can actually have very dramatic implications at the population level," said Joe Braun, the lead author and a research fellow at Harvard's School of Public Health.

For every 10-fold increase in mothers' BPA levels, girls scored at least six points worse on the questionnaires.

The study was released online Monday in Pediatrics.

Linda Birnbaum, director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Toxicology Program, said the study contributes important new evidence to "a growing database which suggests that BPA exposure can be associated with effects on human health."

Grants from that federal agency helped pay for the study.

The Food and Drug Administration has said that low-level BPA exposure appears to be safe. But the agency also says that because of recent scientific evidence, it has some concern about potential effects of BPA on the brain and behavior in fetuses, infants and small children. The FDA is continuing to study BPA exposure and supports efforts to minimize use in food containers.

BPA has many uses, and is found in some plastic bottles and coatings in metal food cans. It was widely used in plastic baby bottles and sippy cups but industry phased out that use.

Braun said it's possible that exposure to BPA during pregnancy interferes with fetal brain development, a theory suggested in other studies, and that could explain the behavior differences in his study. Why boys' behavior wasn't affected isn't clear. But BPA is thought to mimic the effects of estrogen, a female hormone.

The researchers evaluated other possible influences on children's behavior, including family income, education level and whether mothers were married, and still found an apparent link to BPA.

But Dr. Charles McKay, a BPA researcher and toxicologist with the Connecticut Poison Control Center, said the researchers failed to adequately measure factors other than BPA that could explain the results.

For example, there's no information on mothers' eating habits. That matters because mothers' higher BPA levels could have come from eating lots of canned foods instead of healthier less processed foods, which might have affected fetal brain development.

The American Chemistry Council, a trade group whose members include companies that use BPA, said the research "has significant shortcomings ... and the conclusions are of unknown relevance to public health."



비스페놀A 노출된 女兒 우울증확률 높아

플라스틱 용기에 함유된 화학물질 비스페놀-A(BPA)에 자 주 노출된 임신부가 낳은 여자 아이의 경우 우울증 등 행동상의 문제가 더 많이 나타나는 것으로 드러났다.

미 하버드대학 보건대학 연구팀이 24일(현지시간) 발표한 연구에 따르면 임신기 간에 소변에 비스페놀-A의 수치가 높게 나온 임산부가 낳은 여자 아이의 경우 분노, 우울증, 활동항진의 현상이 더 많이 나타나는 것으로 조사됐다.

이번 연구는 미 오하이오주 신시내티 지역에 거주하는 244명의 어머니와 이들의 3살 이하 자녀를 상대로 시행한 것으로 임산부 시절의 소변과 출산 후 자녀의  소변 을 조사하는 방식으로 진행됐다.

`소아과 저널' 10월24일자에 실린 이 연구에 따르면 임산부 시절 BPA 농도가 높 은 어머니에게서 태어난 소녀들은 3살이 될 때까지 여러 행동상의 문제를 겪는 것으 로 나타났다.

BPA는 플라스틱 용기나 접착제 등에 사용되는 화학물질로서 통조림이나 젖병, 음료수병 등 플라스틱 용기 강화제로 사용되기도 하며, 강한 세제나 고온의 액체에 노출될 경우 녹아내려 인체에 흡수될 수 있다는 가능성이 제기되면서 일부 국가에서 사용이 금지됐다.

이번 연구는 그러나 BPA에 많이 노출됐던 임산부가 출산한 남자 아이도  행동상 의 문제가 더 많이 나타나는 상관관계는 발견되지 않았다.

이번 연구의 주 저자인 하버드대 보건대학 조 브라운 연구원은 "어떤  어린아이 도 임상적으로 비정상적인 행동을 보인 경우는 없었지만 일부 어린이는 다른 어린이 에 비해 행동상의 문제를 많이 보였다"고 밝혔다.

연구 보고서는 이어 임신기간 BPA 농도의 증가는 여자 어린이에게 활동항진  현 상을 비롯해 공격적이거나 분노하거나 우울증적 행태를 증가시키는 것과 연관이  있 으며, 감정 통제나 억제를 제대로 못하게 하는 작용도 하는 것으로 나타났다고 지적 했다.

이번 연구는 임신기간 BPA 노출과 어린아이의 행태간 연관성이 있다는 이전  연 구결과를 재확인해 주는 것이지만 샘플의 규모가 작아 추가 연구가 필요하다고 연구 진은 부연했다.