Prenatal bisphenol A exposure and early childhood behavior

Environ Health Perspect. 2009 Dec;117(12):1945-52. doi: 10.1289/ehp.0900979. Epub 2009 Oct 6.


Background: Prenatal exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) increases offspring aggression and diminishes differences in sexually dimorphic behaviors in rodents.

Objective: We examined the association between prenatal BPA exposure and behavior in 2-year-old children.

Methods: We used data from 249 mothers and their children in Cincinnati, Ohio (USA). Maternal urine was collected around 16 and 26 weeks of gestation and at birth. BPA concentrations were quantified using high-performance liquid chromatography-isotope-dilution tandem mass spectrometry. Child behavior was assessed at 2 years of age using the second edition of the Behavioral Assessment System for Children (BASC-2). The association between prenatal BPA concentrations and BASC-2 scores was analyzed using linear regression.

Results: Median BPA concentrations were 1.8 (16 weeks), 1.7 (26 weeks), and 1.3 (birth) ng/mL. Mean (+/- SD) BASC-2 externalizing and internalizing scores were 47.6 +/- 7.8 and 44.8 +/- 7.0, respectively. After adjustment for confounders, log(10)-transformed mean prenatal BPA concentrations were associated with externalizing scores, but only among females [beta = 6.0; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.1-12.0]. Compared with 26-week and birth concentrations, BPA concentrations collected around 16 weeks were more strongly associated with externalizing scores among all children (beta = 2.9; 95% CI, 0.2-5.7), and this association was stronger in females than in males. Among all children, measurements collected at <or= 16 weeks showed a stronger association (beta = 5.1; 95% CI, 1.5-8.6) with externalizing scores than did measurements taken at 17-21 weeks (beta = 0.6; 95% CI, -2.9 to 4.1).

Conclusions: These results suggest that prenatal BPA exposure may be associated with externalizing behaviors in 2-year-old children, especially among female children.

Keywords: bisphenol A; children; endocrine; epidemiology; neurodevelopment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Benzhydryl Compounds
  • Child Behavior / drug effects*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Fetus / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Phenols / toxicity*
  • Phenols / urine
  • Pregnancy
  • Sex Characteristics


  • Benzhydryl Compounds
  • Phenols
  • bisphenol A