Prenatal Chemical Exposure Affects Child Neurodevelopment

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Prenatal Chemical Exposure Affects Child Neurodevelopment
Prenatal Chemical Exposure Affects Child Neurodevelopment

(HealthDay News) — Prenatal exposure to polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) is associated with lower IQ and higher hyperactivity scores in children at age 5 years, according to research published online May 28 in Environmental Health Perspectives.

Aimen Chen, MD, PhD, of the University of Cincinnati, and colleagues measured serum concentrations of BDE-47 and other PBDE congeners in a prospective birth cohort of 309 women at 16 weeks of gestation. The researchers measured cognitive function and behaviors in the children from ages 1–5 years to assess the association between prenatal PBDE exposure and child neurodevelopment.

The researchers found that, at age 1–3 years, serum prenatal BDE-47 concentration was not significantly associated with child abilities on the Bayley Mental or Psychomotor Development Indices. However, at age 5 years, a 10-fold increase in prenatal BDE-47 was associated with a decrease in Full Scale IQ (4.5-point decrease; 95% confidence interval [CI], −8.8–−0.1) and an increase in hyperactivity score (3.3-point increase; 95% CI, 0.3–6.3).

"PBDEs are persistent chemicals that were widely used as flame retardants in furniture, carpet padding, car seats, and other consumer products over the past three decades," the authors write. "Prenatal exposure to PBDEs was associated with lower IQ and higher hyperactivity scores in children."

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