Study links prenatal BPA exposure to anxiety and depression in boys

According to a new American study, boys exposed in utero to bisphenol A (BPA) -- a chemical commonly used in plastics -- could be at greater risk of developing symptoms of anxiety and depression at age 10 to 12.

BPA is once again in the spotlight. Previous research has identified this synthetic estrogen as an endocrine disruptor linked to conditions such as asthma, anxiety, the early onset of puberty in girls, diabetes, obesity and heart disease in adults.

However, until now, few studies had examined the link between prenatal exposure to BPA during pregnancy and pathological effects in children. Back in May, a team of scientists in the US identified in utero BPA exposure as a potential risk factor for obesity.

Now, researchers at Columbia University in New York have studied 241 nonsmoking pregnant women and their children. To measure the quantity of BPA absorbed, the scientists collected urine samples from the women during the third trimester of their pregnancy. Samples were also collected from their children at ages three, five and 10 to 12 years old. At the end of the study period, the children underwent psychosocial tests and interviews to evaluate potential signs of depression and anxiety.

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