Sex-specific associations between urinary bisphenols concentrations during pregnancy and problematic child behaviors at age 2 years

Sarah Dee Geiger, Salma Musaad, Jennifer Hill, Andrea Aguiar, Susan Schantz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Effects of prenatal bisphenol A (BPA) exposure on child behavior are mixed with some reports suggesting increased problematic behaviors in girls (e.g., aggression and emotional reactivity) and in boys (i.e., externalizing behaviors), while other reports suggest decreased problematic behaviors in girls. Little is known about the potential impact of pregnancy bisphenol S (BPS) exposure on child behavior. In a prospective cohort study (n = 68), five maternal spot urine samples collected across pregnancy were pooled and analyzed for BPA and BPS. Child behavior at 2 years was assessed using the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL). Linear regression models were used to assess associations between bisphenols concentrations and both composite and syndrome CBCL scales. Exposure x child sex interactions were included in addition to their main effects and sex-stratified analyses were conducted. Models were adjusted for maternal age, number of siblings, and child age at CBCL intake. Mean maternal age was 29.7 years. Most women were White (88%), had an annual household income ≥$50,000 (66%), and at least a college degree (81%). Median concentrations were 1.3 ng/mL (range 0.4–7.2) for BPA and 0.3 ng/mL (range 0.1–3.5) for BPS. Sex modified the relationship between BPA and scores on several syndrome scales—anxious-depressed, aggressive, and sleep problems—where the association was consistently inverse in males in lower BPA concentrations, and positive (more reported behavior problems) among girls in the higher BPA group. Higher BPS was associated with more problematic internalizing behaviors among girls but not boys, and sex modified the relationship between BPS and emotionally reactive behaviors (Pinteraction = 0.128), with sex-specific estimates revealing more emotionally reactive behaviors among girls (expβ = 3.92 95% CI 1.16, 13.27; P = 0.028) but not boys. Findings were mixed overall, but one notable finding was that BPS, a replacement for BPA, was associated with increased problematic behaviors. There is a need for replication of findings due to our small sample size.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number107152
JournalNeurotoxicology and Teratology
StatePublished - Mar 1 2023


  • BPA
  • BPS
  • Bisphenol A
  • Bisphenol S
  • CBCL
  • Child behavior checklist

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Toxicology


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