A new study shows that the chemical, found in plastic, might be an endocrine disruptor.
In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the American Psychiatric Association estimates that 6 million children in the U.S. have ADHD.
ADHD is a common neurodevelopmental disorder that’s usually diagnosed during childhood. Kids with ADHD may have trouble paying attention, controlling impulsive behaviors, or be overly active. ADHD is typically treated with combinations of medication and behavioral therapy.
We’re still learning about what exactly causes ADHD, but recent research published in the journal Environment International seem to indicate that children (and rats) who are exposed to BPA at an early age have a higher risk of developing ADHD during childhood.
RELATED: What Is BPA?
According to the study, BPA—a chemical commonly added to thermal paper receipts, can linings, plastic water bottles, and food packaging—is an endocrine disruptor. This means it interferes with hormone production and balance. The bad news? Most canned foods in America still contain BPA.
The research examined over 30 studies on humans and rodents, and determined that early BPA exposure was a possible contributor to hyperactivity in kids. The study also showed BPA to be a “presumed human hazard.”
This comes just two weeks after Stephen Ostroff M.D., the FDA’s deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine, released a statement determining that BPA “was safe for use in food containers and packaging.”
Although there’s conflicting evidence, one thing is clear: The research on BPA and ADHD is still new, and not enough has been done on humans to establish a super-solid link. If you want to err on the safe side, there are some easy ways to limit your BPA exposure, especially for pregnant women and young children: Switch to BPA-free water bottles and food containers, and cook more fresh foods at home—BPA can be found in aluminum cans, plastic bottles, and pre-packaged food containers.