BPA in dental fillings increases risk of behavioral problems slightly

CBS News reports in its “Health Pop” blog on a study published in Pediatrics that “links the BPA that is used in certain types of children’s tooth fillings to a slightly increased risk for behavioral problems.”

The study found that “children with the highest exposure to BPA-based fillings scored worse on behavioral assessment tests and had more emotional problems like anxiety and depression than their counterparts.” It “involved 534 children between ages 6 and 10.”

Author Dr. Nancy Maserejian, of the New England Research Institutes, said, “On average, the difference in social behavior scores were very small and would probably not be noticed for each individual child.”

Reuters reports the study was based on surveys of parents and children 5 years after receiving the fillings.

CNN reports in its “the Chart” blog that amalgams with BPA derivatives have been in use “since the 1970s,” and points out that the “authors caution that their results only point to an association.”

It quotes Dr. Joel Berg, president of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, saying, “Both amalgams and composites [tooth-colored fillings] are safe materials. They are both effective, they have been shown to be effective for years and years.”

HealthDay reports, “The children who got the highest number of bisGMA-based fillings had more emotional problems five years later than the children who got fewer of these fillings. But no such change occurred with other types of fillings.”

Medscape reports, “Children with restorations made with bisphenol A-glycidyl methacrylate (bisGMA)-based composite resins may have more emotional and social problems than children with other types of restorations.”

Author Dr. Maserejian said, “The main message here is that we need more research.” The study used data form the National Institutes of Health-funded New England Children’s Amalgam Trial. “The effects were not huge. Fewer than 10% of the children had scores described as ‘at-risk’ or ‘clinically significant.'”

WebMD reports, “The finding was a surprise, Maserejian tells WebMD. However, Maserejian also says the research is preliminary and the differences found were small.”

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