Dr. Steven Lipshultz, chair of pediatrics at the University of Miami's Miller School of Medicine, said the behavior problems observed in the young study participants -- hyperactivity and poor behavioral inhibition -- are characteristics of attention deficit hyperactivity disorders, suggesting there could be a relationship between BPA and these disorders.
"These are very concerning findings," Lipshultz said. "We have certainly seen in the last 20 years a real increase in the diagnosis of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorders to the point where right now, depending on which study you look at, between 8 and 11 percent of kids in the U.S. are diagnosed with them."
He added, "Is this because we are more aware of it or are there really environmental exposure that are changing how many kids have issues in this area?"
While they are concerned about the findings, Landrigan and Lipshultz say it's too early to say there's a cause-and-effect link between BPA and developmental problems in children.
"They can minimize consumption of canned food and avoid storing food in containers with BPA -- use glass or stainless steel."
But until additional research solidifies the association between BPA and developmental issues, the study authors say, "the benefits of such reductions are unclear."
The American Chemistry Council (ACC), a trade association representing American chemical companies, responded to the study by pointing out the authors themselves wrote, "the clinical relevance of these findings is unclear at this point."
Steven G. Hentges of the ACC's Polycarbonate/BPA Global Group also said other research funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and conducted by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory does not support this study's findings.
"Consistent with previous human and animal studies, the Pacific Northwest study ... indicates that, because of the way BPA is processed in the body, it is very unlikely that BPA could cause health effects at any realistic exposure level. Furthermore, regulators from Europe to Japan to the U.S. have recently reviewed hundreds of studies on BPA and repeatedly supported the continued safe use of BPA."