Parents, you may want to put down that water bottle and read this.
BPA, or Bisphenol A, a chemical used to line plastic bottles and canned goods, has been shown to cause cancer, spike blood pressure, disrupt hormones, and harm infant brain development. Now, there's another reason to be wary of BPA. A new study in mice suggests that exposure to the chemical may negatively affect parenting behavior.
The University of Missouri researchers found that offspring born to parents that were exposed to BPA receive decreased parental care — like nursing and grooming — by both the mother and father, compared to controls.
While this effect isn't as pronounced in males, non-exposed females can still tell whether or not the male is compromised by BPA and, as a consequence, reduce their own parental investment in the offspring.
As hormones and regions of the brain that regulate biparental behaviors have been found to be similar across species, the authors believe this study could have human implications.
We shouldn't jump to conclusions just yet, and a little exposure to BPA probably won't make you a bad parent. But this study just adds to the mounting evidence of its dangers.
(h/t University of Missouri)