Association between maternal exposure to major phthalates, heavy metals, and persistent organic pollutants, and the neurodevelopmental performances of their children at 1 to 2years of age- CHECK cohort study.
Sci Total Environ. 2017 Dec 16 ;624:377-384. Epub 2017 Dec 16. PMID: 29258038
Exposure of the developing fetus and infants to toxic substances can cause serious lifelong health consequences. Several chemicals have been associated with adverse neurodevelopmental disorders in the early life stages of humans. However, most epidemiological studies have focused on a limited number of chemicals, and hence may exclude important chemicals from consideration or result in conclusions built on associations by chance. In the present study, we investigated the chemical exposure profile of the women, and associated these with the early neurodevelopmental performance of their offspring at 13-24months of age. The chemicals assessed include four phthalates, bisphenol A, three heavy metals, 19 polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), 19 organochlorine pesticides, and 19 polybrominated diphenyl ethers, which were measured from urine, whole blood, serum, and/or breastmilk of the pregnant or lactating women. For neurodevelopmental performance, the Bayley Scales of Infant Development-II (BSID-II), Social Maturity Scale (SMS), and Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) were measured from a total of 140 toddlers. Among the measured chemicals, monoethyl phthalate (MEP) in maternal urine was significantly associated with early mental, psychomotor, and social development. In addition, breast milk di-ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP) metabolite and blood lead concentrations were inversely associated with mental and psychomotor development indices, respectively. Maternal blood PCB153, heavy metals, and urinary MEP levels were also higher among the children with behavioral problems, as indicated by the CBCL range. Taken together, maternal exposure to several EDCs such as PCBs and DEHP was associated with adverse neurodevelopmental performances among the children aged 1-2years. Confirmation of these association in larger populations, as well as longer-term consequences of such exposure warrant further investigation.