Wednesday, April 4, 2012


We’ve all heard the BPA, found virtually everywhere in plastics, cans, and other polymers, is bad for us. Now, according to an article on a study performed by Daniel Weber of UW-Milwaukee has shown that even exposure to small concentrations as an embryo has big effects on later adult life.

The test Weber performed was a simple learning test in which he condition adult fish to turn left in a T-shaped maze. After learning to turn left, he then reversed the direction and attempted to condition them to turn right. The adult fish that were no exposed to BPA as embryos took only about 7-10 trials before they learned to turn left. The adult fish that were exposed to concentrations of BPA as embryos, however, took 2-3 times as many trials to learn to turn right instead of left, and those that were exposed to the highest concentrations of BPA as embryos were never able to turn left in the first place.

In addition to the learning disabilities evident in adulthood as a result of BPA exposure, there was also an observed immediate effect of hyperactivity upon hatching.

It is obvious then, that these effects are connected. Hyperactivity makes it difficult to learn, as is seen in children with ADHD, and even though the exposure only occurred in the embryonic stage, the wiring in the brain was permanently effected and the learning and memory impairments are evident in adulthood.

I think this study is a breakthrough that will only lead to further knowledge about the effects of BPA and other man-made environmental toxins. With so many children being born with behavioral and learning disabilities, especially hyperactivity disorders, these findings cannot be ignored. I have been avoiding BPA for years by using stainless steel bottles and mugs, but it is everywhere in our environment now and is, sadly, unavoidable. I hope that this and further studies will lead to the permanent banning of BPA and other known dangerous chemicals found in plastics, so we can stop condemning and increasing number of our children to a life of learning and behavioral issues.

Source article:


Due to many comments expressing confusion about BPA, I thought I would provide a little background information. BPA, or bisphenol A, is an organic compound that is used to make many different plastics, polycarbonates and resins that we encounter in our daily lives. I have posted a picture of the structure of BPA below for reference. Basically, BPA has been used in the commercial production of plastics since 1957, and approximately 8 billion pounds of BPA is used yearly. You encounter BPA numerous times a day, in your shatter-proof, polycarbonate nalgene water bottle, in baby bottle, sports equipment, household electronics, eyeglasses, and on and on. However, it has been discovered that BPA is an endocrine disruptor, and can mimic estrogen. This can lead to negative health effects, especially when exposure occurs during early developmental stages. BPA exposure, which is virtually unavoidable (in a recent study, 96% of pregnant women were found to have BPA in their bodies), has been linked to not only neurological and developmental issues, but also to obesity, thyroid function, and cancer. The most common way the BPA enters our bodies is through ingestions. When materials containing BPA are washed, heated, or stressed in some way, the chemical leeches into our food. Considering BPA is in almost all food packaging, containers, and bottles, it is leeching into all of our food, daily. According to a story by TIME magazine, "if you don't have BPA in your body, you are not living in the modern world."

Scary, huh?


Posted by Laura Moro (2)


  1. I do not know what BPA is. After reading this i think it might be a hyperactivity order but i'm still not sure. Because i really didn't know what it was, it was hard to understand the blog. The fish test was a good story of evidence how this thing effects brains though.

    Posted by Jen Silva

  2. This is very interesting and important article which addresses an issue that is extremeley detrimental to the environment, and now, as explained, to humans. I do not understand how BPA, as well as other toxins and chemicals have been released by man made objects into this environment. With the knowledge of these serious negative effects they produce, one would believe people would be working everyday to remove these dangers from our lives, yet it never happens. Removal of these toxins can reduce many diseases present today, so why has it no happened yet? Sadly I believe it will never happen.

  3. I understand that BPA is a chemical comparable in its affects to mercury, but I still don't really know what it is. Where can it be found? Mercury can be ingested by eating fish or shellfish, how can one be exposed to BPA? Apart from that confusion, the article is very interesting. The experiment done was very simplistic and yielded clear results. The drastic difference between the behavior of fish that had been exposed to BPA and those that hadn't is very interesting/ According to the experimental results, it is clear that exposure to BPA has a huge impact on memory and behavior.

    Posted By Erica Bonnell(1)

  4. Very true. I totally agree with your concluding argument. We have to stop allowing BPA from being produced, because in the end we ourselves are the ones that get affected. I have heard of BPA before and I've heard about the negative effects of it, but I never really realized how serious the effects were.Very informative article about this matter.

    -Hermann Kam

  5. There are a lot of commenters here saying that they don't know what BPA is. For the record: BPA is a plastic and is very often found in water bottles. This is why people have been moving to glass and stainless steel bottles to carry around their water. But this study doesn't seem that useful, there have been plenty that confirm that BPA is bad for people. Maybe the resources spent on this were slightly wasted? Just a thought.

    Mike Selden (3)

  6. I have to say Mike, I disagree. This was one of the first studies that showed a direct relationship between exposure to the chemical only in the embryonic stage, and a resultant learning disability in later adulthood. And it showed the direct relationship vividly, without any doubt. If this study isn't a message to the FDA to ban the substance, I don't know what is. How many children are born everyday with learning disabilities? Why are we so blind to see that WE are the cause? I don't want toxins in my body, and I don't want my future children at risk either due to factors beyond my control. I don't think any money is wasted on studies such as this because if we need 1000 studies that show the same thing to make the FDA ban BPA, then that is what we need to do.

    Posted by Laura Moro (2)

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. I like your post and despite many students not understanding what BPA is, I think you may have unintentionally addressed a huge issue, which is many people don't know what a hormone disruptor is and where they can be found and how much we are exposed to them on a daily basis. What is also interesting is how they can be used for an advertising advantage, where many baby products are marketed with 'BPA-Free' slogans, but I imagine most people don't know what it is, but think...hey, it must be good!

    -Karen Melendez