Bisphenol A (BPA) is a high-production-volume chemical that is used to produce polycarbonate plastics and resins used in some food can linings and other consumer products around the home and everyone is exposed predominantly from their diet.
There is growing evidence that prenatal BPA exposure increases the risk of neurobehavioral disorders in children. Some experimental studies in rodents suggest that prenatal BPA exposure is associated with behavior problems and that these effects may be sex-specific.
Prenatal exposure to BPA may increase the risk of neurobehavioral disorders by affecting thyroid or gonadal hormones or neurotransmitter systems, which are both necessary for proper brain development.
BPA may also affect the production or metabolism of gonadal hormones, which are an important determinant of sexually dimorphic brain development; thus, BPA may differentially affect neurodevelopment in males and females.
Several epidemiological studies have reported that maternal urinary BPA concentration during pregnancy is associated with adverse behavioral outcomes. In addition, some studies have reported that child sex modifies the association between BPA and neurobehavior. Studies in animals also show that gestational BPA exposure may affect specific aspects of cognition, such as memory and learning.
In this study increasing BPA concentrations in the mother at the birth of the child was associated with lower memory ability at 3 years of age but only in boys.
Environ Health Perspect; DOI:10.1289/EHP984
Associations of Prenatal Urinary Bisphenol A Concentrations with Child Behaviors and Cognitive Abilities