The Link Between Plastic Additives and Neurodevelopmental Disorders

Recent decades have seen a sharp increase in the number of children being diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This alarming trend has led to extensive research in order to understand the potential causes behind these neurodevelopmental disorders. One potential factor that has emerged in a new study is the common plastic additive called bisphenol A (BPA).

Bisphenol A is a chemical compound that is widely used in the production of plastics and can often be found in various plastic products, as well as inside food and drink cans. While it has been deemed safe for many years, accumulating evidence suggests that BPA may pose health risks, particularly when it comes to hormone disruption. Previous research has linked BPA exposure to breast cancer and infertility, highlighting the need for further investigation.

In this recent study conducted by researchers from Rowan University and Rutgers University in the US, the focus was on the impact of BPA on children with ASD and ADHD. The study included three groups of children: 66 with ASD, 46 with ADHD, and 37 neurotypical children. The researchers aimed to analyze the process of glucuronidation, which is the body’s chemical process of clearing out toxins through urine.

The findings of this study revealed that children with ASD and ADHD had a reduced ability to clear out BPA and another similar compound called Diethylhexyl Phthalate (DEHP) compared to their neurotypical counterparts. This suggests that their bodies are more exposed to the toxic effects of these plastic additives due to compromised detoxification. The efficiency of BPA clearance was significantly reduced by approximately 11 percent for children with ASD and 17 percent for children with ADHD.

The researchers hypothesize that gene mutations in certain individuals may be what prevents the efficient clearance of BPA from the body. As a result, these individuals experience prolonged exposure to the harmful effects of BPA, potentially leading to damage in neuron development and operation. It is important to note that conditions like ASD and ADHD are believed to be influenced by a combination of genetic and environmental factors, and this study sheds light on the environmental aspect.

While this study highlights a potential link between BPA exposure and neurodevelopmental disorders, it is crucial to recognize that not every child with a neurodevelopmental disorder showcased difficulties in flushing out BPA. Therefore, it is evident that other factors are also at play. Future research endeavors are underway to gain a better understanding of when and how ASD and ADHD develop in the body. This involves exploring whether exposure to BPA during fetal development or later in life contributes to the onset of these disorders. Thus far, the available data is not sufficient to establish a causal relationship between BPA exposure and neurodevelopmental disorders.

The researchers emphasize the existence of a substantial body of epidemiological evidence supporting a correlation between neurodevelopmental disorders and environmental pollutants such as plasticizers. This study adds further weight to the idea that environmental factors can contribute significantly to the development of ASD and ADHD.

The rise in ASD and ADHD diagnoses has prompted extensive research into the potential causes of these neurodevelopmental disorders. The latest study highlights the concerning link between BPA exposure and inefficient detoxification in children with ASD and ADHD. While genetic factors play a role, environmental pollutants may also significantly contribute to the development of these conditions. Further research is needed to elucidate the precise mechanisms underlying the onset of ASD and ADHD and to determine the extent to which BPA exposure is a contributing factor.


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