(BOSTON) -- A new study in this week's Pediatrics medical journal suggests that prenatal exposure to bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical found in many products, including food and beverage containers, is linked to behavioral and emotional problems in 3-year-old children.
Some environmental and child health experts say the findings support the argument that BPA is harmful to children's development, a position that has been under debate for the past several years.
In the study, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Cincinnati Children's Medical Center, and several other institutions measured BPA levels in the urine of 244 women at different times during their pregnancies and in the urine of their children at one, two and three years of age.
They found BPA in more than 97 percent of the urine samples, and discovered an association between BPA exposure and subsequent behavioral problems.
"The results of this study suggest that gestational BPA exposure might be associated with anxious, depressive and hyperactive behaviors related to impaired behavioral regulation at three years of age," wrote the authors, led by Joe Braun, a research fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.
The effects were especially strong among girls.
Despite the findings, the authors urge caution in their interpretation.
"There is considerable debate regarding the toxicity of low-level BPA exposure, and the findings presented here warrant additional research," they wrote
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