Bisphenol A (BPA) has been the bad guy in manufacturer chemicals for a few years now. It is used when making plastic containers, thermal point of sale paper, CD’s and DVD’s, and more. It is even a component of certain flame retardants. The reason BPA gets such a bad rap is that it has the ability to weakly mimic estrogen, and may be linked to negative health effects. Over the years, these have included obesity, neurological issues, increased sensitivity to illicit drugs, altered thyroid function, and even cancer. In response to this, it is now illegal to manufacture baby bottles with any amount of BPA.
A recent study has now brought attention to the inclusion of BPA in dental filling materials. WebMD has a great summary of the research that was done. The study suggests that kids who were exposed to fillings with BPA were associated with worse social behavior in children, such as anxiety, depression, and problems with interpersonal relations.
The link they found was weak at best. It was done in association gathered to investigate the health effects of amalgam filling on young kids. The study did not take into consideration any other possible sources of BPA, and the behavior was rated by subjective means from either the patients themselves or their parents. It also did not take into account the size of the fillings, related to the amount of exposure of BPA to the patients.
In other words, this is just junk science, with poor interpretation of the results. Because there is no clear correlation of trace amounts of BPA in dental composite fillings and a true change in behavior, it needlessly creates fear over an issue that may or may not even exist.
Bottom line: We don’t know enough to say it is harmful. Personally, I would choose that for my kids over the exposure to mercury from placing an amalgam filling. In the meantime, the best thing we can do is to calm down over these issues, reinforce the need for good preventive care, and do our best to avoid the filling in the first place.