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BPA Exposure Linked to Autism

Mar 03, 2015 03:22 PM EST
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Exposure to bisphenol-A (BPA), a material commonly used in a variety of plastic consumer food and beverage containers, may be linked to autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in children, according to new research.

"It has been suspected for a lot of years that BPA is involved in autism, but there was no direct evidence," T. Peter Stein with Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine (RowanSOM) , who led the study, said in a statement. "We've shown there is a link. The metabolism of BPA is different in some children with autism than it is in otherwise healthy children."

To reach this conclusion, Stein and his colleagues at RowanSOM, along with a team Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, analyzed urine specimens from 46 children with ASD and 52 healthy control children for both free BPA and total BPA concentrations.

Like many chemicals, BPA becomes water soluble when it binds to glucose in the liver - a process called glucuronidation. After being converted to a glucuronide, it is then excreted in the urine.

Following a metabolomic analysis, which screened for all the chemicals found in the children's urine, the researchers found a significant link between BPA exposure and autism. Children with ASD, the results showed, excreted three times more BPA compared to the control group.

In addition, the number of statistical significant correlations with fraction of BPA bound was approximately15 times higher in the children with ASD.

This study is the first to find a relationship between BPA exposure and symptoms of autism.

"The key point is that the study seems to link BPA to autism and creates an open area for further research. One implication of our study is that there might be a benefit to reducing BPA exposure for pregnant women and for children with autism," Stein said.

The findings were published in the journal Autism Research.

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