As part of a study, American researchers at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center have shown that children and adolescents with increased levels of bisphenol A (BPA) in their bodies are especially prone to attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The study examined 450 children and adolescents for ADHD and evaluated additional data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) on the concentration of BPA in urine.
The result? Subjects with particularly high concentrations of BPA were diagnosed with ADHD five times more often than those with low concentrations of BPA. In addition, the effect is five times stronger among boys than it is among girls. The authors see a possibility of preventing ADHD by reducing the levels of BPA.
In the United States, more and more physicians are calling for the prohibition of neurotoxins like BPA, phthalates, and polybrominated diphenyl ethers. As part of the TENDR project (Targeting Environmental Neuro Developmental Risks), well-known neurologists, other physicians, and scientists, including the director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Linda Birnbaum, issued a joint declaration that notes the risks of such substances. The Web site of the Endocrine Society includes a number of scientific statements. The New York Times published a good overview on July 1.
The authors of the joint declaration argue for abandoning a science-based approach to the evaluation of substances. According to that principle, action is necessary only after final proof of the dangers of a substance has been established. The burden of proof lies with regulatory agencies. In Europe, however, agencies can rely on the precautionary principle, which allows them to limit use and even prohibit substances when a reasonable suspicion of danger to health exists, even though final scientific proof is not yet available.
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