A new study on the effects of developmental exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) in deer mice finds that males exposed to bisphenol A (BPA) in the womb and through mother’s milk may lose some important gender-based behaviors, such as the increased spatial-navigational skills or exploratory behavior deemed to be a ‘masculine’ trait. Researchers also found that the females rejected the BPA-exposed males at a rate of 2 to 1 over unexposed males.
“When these mice are sexually mature, their brains undergo significant remodeling that allows them to exhibit certain behaviors – like increased spatial-navigational skills in males. In humans, too, men tend to have a better ability than girls to locate in their environment – to know where they are in their environment, to remember where things are and where to find them.
So when the males got to adulthood, we started them on behavioral testing in a maze that is well-recognized to test this ability. There are several holes and only one leads to the home cage. Non-BPA exposed males can almost immediately get to the correct hole. The BPA exposed male took quite a bit longer. They didn’t use the most efficient strategy and just wandered around randomly, aimlessly. When we tested the females, both the non-exposed and BPA-exposed females had similar responses. They were acting behaviorally like females.” – Dr. Cheryl Rosenfeld
BPA, a common ingredient in polycarbonate bottles and the lining of canned food containers, has come under fire in the last couple of years for its potential endocrine disrupting properties. Studies in animals have lead some researchers to believe that exposure to BPA could be a factor in cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and a host of other health problems in humans.
So far, the FDA has said that BPA isn’t really a health concern, yet some states are already banning it, and even the American Medical Association now acknowledges that BPA is an endocrine-disrupting agent and urges clear identification for BPA-containing products with potential for human exposure.
What do you think about BPA? Are you concerned about the health effects of it on your children, or do you think it’s nothing to worry about?
Image: stevendepolo at Flickr