Bisphenol A (also known as BPA), a chemical used in lightweight plastics, dental sealants and dental fillings is back making news headlines once again.
First, the federal government announced this month that baby bottles and sippy cups can no longer contain BPA.
This was followed by reports from a new study stating that children getting dental fillings made with BPA are more likely to have behavior and emotional problems later in life.
The study, as reported in Pediatrics Online, “makes a strong case that in the short-term, use of BPA-containing dental materials should be minimized,” asserts Philip Landrigan, director of the Children’s Environmental Health Center at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City.
The researchers in the study tracked 534 children with cavities from when each child received their first dental fillings. Over the following 5 years, the researchers noted that those children who had cavities filled with a composite material containing traces of BPA consistently scored 2 – 6 points less on 100-point behavior assessments than those who didn’t have fillings.
As reported in Science News, the researchers never administered clinical diagnostic behavioral tests to the children.
Instead, they periodically administered some widely used checklists to the children or their parents, allowing each to self-assess features such as a child’s attitudes toward teachers or others, depression, self-esteem, attention problems, delinquent behaviors, acting-out or problems with attentiveness.
Since the children were 6-12 years old at the time, these type of behaviors are not uncommon for children living with a variety of circumstances like divorce, bullying, and problems at home.
However researchers argue that the behavior problems being reported seemed to happen more with the children who had BPA fillings, causing them to believe that some dental fillings may start to break down over time, thus exposing these children to the chemical.
The U.S. government is currently spending $30 million on its own BPA research to determine the chemical’s health effects on humans.
As a dentist, what are your thoughts on the use of BPA?
For more on this story see: Putting BPA-based Dental Fillings in Perspective