New research, published today [1,2], finds that low doses of a chemical that leaches from many till receipts and food cans, can change the behaviour of female mice towards their offspring.
The chemical, bisphenol A (BPA), has already been banned from use in baby bottles, and the French government has asked for an EU-wide ban on its use in thermal paper till receipts .
The researchers exposed the mice to either the female hormone or BPA during their development, then later observed their behaviour after they gave birth to young. The level of BPA they were exposed to was considered to be similar to that found in pregnant women.
One of the authors, Cheryl Rosenfeld, associate professor of biomedical sciences in the College of Veterinary Medicine and a researcher in the Bond Life Sciences Center at the University of Missouri, said:
“Endocrine-disrupting chemicals like BPA mimic the steroid hormones that establish the ‘circuitry’ for the adult female brain during early development, but little was known about how this chemical might affect the father’s behavior,”
“The nature and extent of care received by an infant is important because it can affect social, emotional and cognitive development,”
“We found that females who were exposed early on to BPA spent less time nursing, so the pups likely did not receive the normal health benefits ascribed to nursing.
“Likewise, we found that developmental exposure of males and females to these endocrine-disrupting chemicals resulted in their spending more time out of the nest and away from their pups, further suggesting that biparental care was reduced.”
BPA is a known endocrine (or hormone) disruptor – a chemical that mimics, blocks or interferes with the body’s hormones. There is increasing research connecting bisphenol A exposure with health effects such as obesity , and BPA can be absorbed into our bodies by handling till receipts .
Dr Michael Warhurst, Executive Director of CHEM Trust, said:
“This is very worrying research, indicating that this industrial chemical – to which we are all exposed – may be affecting important parenting behaviour. Governments across Europe – including the UK – should be pushing for a rapid phase out of BPA exposure, starting with till receipts“
- This blog post has been covered by Food Packaging Forum.
 Disruption of Parenting Behaviors in California Mice, a Monogamous Rodent Species, by Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals, S. A. Johnson et al, PLOS One, 3rd June 2015,
 BPA Can Adversely Affect Parenting Behaviors in Mice, University of Missouri, 3rd June 2015,
 Hormone disrupting Bisphenol A should be banned from use in thermal paper, CHEM Trust, 16th Oct 2014,
 New research strengthens link between hormone disrupting bisphenol A and diabetes, CHEM Trust, 1st April 2015
 Hormone disrupting chemical Bisphenol A can transfer from receipts into our bloodstream, CHEM Trust, 22nd Oct 2014,