Scientists from the Harvard School of Public Health and New England Research Institutes in Watertown, Massachusetts, recently published a study entitled Dental Composite Restorations and Psychosocial Function in Children in Pediatrics magazine. They reported a link between dental fillings made with Bisphenol A ("BPA"), and behavior and emotional problems in children. The effects were generally small, but considered measureable several years after the dental fillings were implanted. These findings, while alarming, highlight problems associated with BPA-related studies and supports the FDA's conclusion that more research is needed about the effects of BPA.
The randomized Pediatrics study examined 534 children under the age of 10 who had dental fillings. Five years after the fillings were implanted, parents answered questions regarding depression and anxiety in their children, including attitudes at school and overall behavior. Researchers concluded that children who had multiple fillings made with BPA posted scores two to six points worse on a 100-point behavioral measurement scale relative to those who did not have dental fillings made with BPA.
Fillings made with BPA are gaining popularity because they are the same color as teeth, as opposed to their predecessor, silver-colored amalgam. In recent years, cavities among children have also been on the rise, which is why consumer groups are concerned about the findings reported in the Pediatrics study.
BPA is a key ingredient traditionally used to create hard, clear plastics such as those used in baby bottles, children's cups, food containers, compact discs, and adhesives. A few years ago, the Food and Drug Administration ("FDA") reported that animals that ingested BPA leached from plastics were at an increased risk of cancer, birth defects, insulin resistance, decreased testosterone levels, and early puberty. The jury, however, is still out on whether low levels of exposure may have the same deleterious effects on humans.
The FDA has been reluctant to ban BPA outright because scientific evidence does not support the conclusion that very low levels of human exposure to BPA are unsafe. In March of 2012, the FDA publically rejected a petition to ban BPA in food-contact materials. The FDA found that the sample sizes used in studies reporting harmful effects associated with BPA exposure were too small to be conclusive and, in other studies, the results were strictly from animal studies that cannot be applied to humans.
The Pediatrics study, while reporting alarming findings, highlights the rationale employed by the FDA in rejecting a proposal to ban BPA. Researchers in the Pediatrics study conceded that they did not measure levels of BPA, in particular, and they simply did not know if any other chemicals were leached from the fillings. Because the researchers did not measure the presence of BPA in the fillings, there is no way of knowing whether BPA was even present once they were implanted. In addition, researchers did not quantify the children's exposures to other chemicals, unrelated to BPA, which may have contributed to the reported behavioral problems. Not adjusting for these factors undermines conclusions that BPA exposures cause behavioral issues in children.
For more information on how scientific studies and government actions concerning BPA may affect you, contact David Governo at email@example.com or Lonna Carter at firstname.lastname@example.org of the Governo Law Firm.