High BPA Levels in Pregnancy Linked to Behavior Problems in Toddlers

pregnantHere's yet another reason to purge the canned food and plastic from your house -- or at least the kind that contains the concerning chemical bisphenol-A, otherwise known as BPA. A new study found that the daughters of women who had high levels of BPA while they were pregnant had more behavior problems -- like depression, anxiety, and hyperactivity -- at the age of 3.

Oddly, the levels didn't seem to affect boys, but for girls, the impact was significant. According to CBS, "for every 10-fold increase in mothers' BPA levels, girls scored at least six points worse" on a questionnaire that tested for problem behavior.

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Joe Braun, the lead author and a research fellow at Harvard's School of Public Health, told CBS the changes could result in social and academic complications for some. "These subtle shifts can actually have very dramatic implications at the population level."

Great. Now all I can think about is what I drank and ate from when I was pregnant, since my daughter turns 3 in just a couple of months. It scares me to think I may have unwittingly exposed her to something so dangerous.

While the study isn't conclusive (are they ever?), researchers say it does confirm a need for more research in the area. It also, once again, renews my commitment to banning as much BPA from our lives as possible, even though I'm not pregnant nor have any intention of being pregnant again. There are just too many unknowns and too many links suggesting that it causes health problems. There's nothing I can do about the exposure my children may have gotten in utero, but going forward, there definitely is. Even if someday they prove there are no ill effects of BPA, I'd rather be on the safe side.

So how do you avoid BPA? CNN summarizes top tips from The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that include:

  • Look for recycle codes 3 and 7 on plastic containers and avoid them. (Memorize those numbers, it's taken me forever for some reason, but I finally have them down.)
  • Steer clear of canned foods. (This was a big one for me as I use a lot of canned tomatoes and beans for things like pasta and chili, but I've found alternatives. Fresh tastes better anyway.)
  • Use glass containers, especially when heating food.  (This is an easy one, and I like the glass containers so much better.)

Do you avoid BPA at all costs? Did you when you were pregnant?


Image via tofslie/Flickr

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