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CHICAGO — Exposure to BPA before birth could affect girls’ behavior at age 3, according to the latest study on potential health effects of the widespread chemical.

Preschool-age girls whose mothers had relatively high urine levels of bisphenol-A during pregnancy scored worse but still within a normal range on behavior measures including anxiety and hyperactivity than other young girls.

The results are not conclusive and experts not involved in the study said factors other than BPA might explain the results. The researchers acknowledge that “considerable debate” remains about whether BPA is harmful, but say their findings should prompt additional research.

The researchers measured BPA in 244 Cincinnati-area mothers’ urine twice during pregnancy and at childbirth. The women evaluated their children at age 3 using standard behavior questionnaires. Nearly all women had measurable BPA levels, like most Americans. But increasingly high urine levels during pregnancy were linked with increasingly worse behavior in their daughters. Boys’ behavior was not affected.

KANSAS

Abortion clinic rules eased by state

WICHITA — State officials are easing contentious new regulations governing abortion clinics, but the move may not be enough to placate abortion providers who have already persuaded a federal judge to block earlier versions, the Associated Press has learned.

The AP obtained an advance copy of the new permanent rules that will take effect Nov. 14. A comparison with temporary versions of the rules shows Kansas Department of Health and Environment officials have removed some of the provisions that have been criticized during a public comment period and in a federal lawsuit.

The revised regulations no longer specify required patient room sizes and give clinics wider latitude to adjust a room’s temperature. They also pare down the list of required medications and equipment doctors need to have on hand.

But the bulk of the original provisions remain, including rules that require abortion providers to have clinical privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of an abortion clinic and that require patient medical records to be available at the clinic for state health department officials to review.

From wire dispatches and staff reports