and the National Toxicology Program, said the study contributes important new evidence to "a growing database which suggests that BPA exposure can be associated with effects on human health."
Grants from that federal agency helped pay for the study.
The Food and Drug Administration has said that low-level BPA exposure appears to be safe. But the agency also says that because of recent scientific evidence, it has some concern about potential effects of BPA on the brain and behavior in fetuses, infants and small children. The FDA is continuing to study BPA exposure and supports efforts to minimize use in food containers.
BPA has many uses, and is found in some plastic bottles and coatings in metal food cans. It was widely used in plastic baby bottles and sippy cups but industry phased out that use.
Braun said it's possible that exposure to BPA during pregnancy interferes with fetal brain development, a theory suggested in other studies, and that could explain the behavior differences in his study. Why boys' behavior wasn't affected isn't clear. But BPA is thought to mimic the effects of estrogen, a female hormone.
The researchers evaluated other possible influences on children's behavior, including family income, education level and whether mothers were married, and still found an apparent link to BPA.
But Dr. Charles McKay, a BPA researcher and toxicologist with the Connecticut Poison Control Center, said the researchers failed to adequately measure factors other than BPA that could explain the results.
For example, there's no information on mothers' eating habits. That matters because mothers' higher BPA levels could have come from eating lots of canned foods instead of healthier less processed foods, which might have affected fetal brain development.
The American Chemistry Council, a trade group whose members include companies that use BPA, said the research "has significant shortcomings ... and the conclusions are of unknown relevance to public health."
AP Medical Writer Lindsey Tanner can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/LindseyTannerhttp://news.yahoo.com/bpa-pregnant-women-might-affect-kids-behavior-040221442.html