Prenatal exposure to bisphenols and cognitive function in children at 7 years of age in the Swedish SELMA study

Carl Gustaf Bornehag, Elin Engdahl, Maria Unenge Hallerbäck, Sverre Wikström, Christian Lindh, Joëlle Rüegg, Eva Tanner, Chris Gennings

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Background: Experimental evidence demonstrates that exposure to bisphenol A (BPA), and the recently introduced alternatives bisphenol S (BPS) and bisphenol F (BPF) alter normal neurodevelopment. More research is needed to evaluate the associations between exposure to individual BPA alternatives and neurodevelopmental outcomes in humans. Objective: The present study aimed at examining the individual associations between prenatal BPA, BPS and BPF exposure and cognitive outcomes in children at age 7 years. Method: Women were enrolled in the Swedish Environmental Longitudinal Mother and Child, Asthma and Allergy (SELMA) study, at gestational median week 10.0, and their children were examined for cognitive function at 7 years of age (N = 803). Maternal urinary BPA, BPS, and BPF concentrations were measured at enrollment and childreńs cognitive function at the age of 7 years was measured using the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children IV (WISC-IV). Results: All three bisphenols were detected in over 90% of the women, where BPA had the highest geometric mean concentrations (1.55 ng/mL), followed by BPF (0.16 ng/mL) and BPS (0.07 ng/mL). Prenatal BPF exposure was associated with decreased full scale IQ (β = −1.96, 95%CI; −3.12; −0.80), as well as with a decrease in all four sub scales covering verbal comprehension, perceptual reasoning, working memory and processing speed. This association corresponded to a 1.6-point lower IQ score for an inter-quartile-range (IQR) change in prenatal BPF exposure (IQR = 0.054–0.350 ng/mL). In sex-stratified analyses, significant associations with full scale IQ were found for boys (β = −2.86, 95%CI; −4.54; −1.18), while the associations for girls did not reach significance (β = −1.38, 95%CI; −2.97; 0.22). No significant associations between BPA nor BPS and cognition were found. Discussion: Prenatal exposure to BPF was significantly associated with childreńs cognitive function at 7 years. Since BPF is replacing BPA in numerous consumer products globally, this finding urgently call for further studies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106433
JournalEnvironment international
StatePublished - May 2021


  • BPA
  • BPF
  • BPS
  • Bisphenols
  • Cognitive function
  • Prenatal exposure


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