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Environ Health Perspect. 2012 Aug;120(8):1190-4. doi: 10.1289/ehp.1104492. Epub 2012 Apr 27.

Prenatal bisphenol a exposure and child behavior in an inner-city cohort.

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  • 1Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, New York 10032, USA.



Experimental laboratory evidence suggests that bisphenol A (BPA), an endocrine disruptor, is a neurodevelopmental toxicant. However, there have been limited and inconclusive results with respect to sex-specific BPA effects on child behavior.


We examined the association between prenatal BPA exposure and child behavior, adjusting for postnatal BPA exposure and hypothesizing sex-specific effects.


We followed African-American and Dominican women and their children from pregnancy to child's age 5 years, collecting spot urine samples from the mothers during pregnancy (34 weeks on average) and from children between 3 and 4 years of age to estimate BPA exposure. We assessed child behavior between 3 and 5 years of age using the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) and used generalized linear models to test the association between BPA exposure and child behavior, adjusting for potential confounders.


The analysis was conducted on 198 children (87 boys and 111 girls). Among boys, high prenatal BPA exposure (highest quartile vs. the lowest three quartiles) was associated with significantly higher CBCL scores (more problems) on Emotionally Reactive [1.62 times greater; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.13, 2.32] and Aggressive Behavior syndromes (1.29 times greater; 95% CI: 1.09, 1.53). Among girls, higher exposure was associated with lower scores on all syndromes, reaching statistical significance for Anxious/Depressed (0.75 times as high; 95% CI: 0.57, 0.99) and Aggressive Behavior (0.82 times as high; 95% CI: 0.70, 0.97).


These results suggest that prenatal exposure to BPA may affect child behavior, and differently among boys and girls.

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