Henrik Viberg of Uppsala University in Sweden said the baby mice exposed to BPA also became hyperactive as young adults.
BPA is used in plastics in numerous consumer products including baby bottles, tin cans, plastic containers and plastic mugs.
Mice were given different doses of BPA when they were 10 days old, and were then made to change from their well-known home cage to another identical one in 1 hour.
Normal mice are very active during the first 20 minutes, exploring the new home environment, but this behavior declines during the next 20 minutes and in the final 20 minutes it drops even more, and the mice settle down and sleep, Viberg said.
"In our study we found that a single exposure to BPA during the short critical period of brain development in the neonatal period leads to changes in spontaneous behavior and poorer adaptation to new environments, as well as hyperactivity among young adult mice," Viberg said in a statement. "When this is examined again later in their adult life, these functional disturbances persist, which indicates that the damage is permanent and do not in fact disappear."
The findings are published in the journal Toxicology.
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