31 Oct Prenatal Exposure to Phthalates Linked to Language Delay in Preschool Children
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Carl-Gustaf Bornehag, PhD
Professor, Department of Health Sciences
Karlstad University, Karlstad, Sweden
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Phthalates have been known for long time as potential endocrine disrupters. Exposure for these kind of compounds during pregnancy have been associated to impacted sexual development, most often seen in boys. However, there is also findings showing that prenatal exposure for phthalates can be associated to neurodevelopment in offspring children.
This study is focusing on prenatal exposure for phthalates and language delay at 30-37 months of age and were conducted in Sweden (the SELMA study including 963 children) and the U.S. (the TIDES study including 370 children) with the same design, measurements and protocols.
In these two independent studies, prenatal exposure for two phthalates (DBP and BBzP) was associated to language delay in pre-school children. Unique things with this study is that we are measuring the exposure during early pregnancy (1st trimester), the size of the study, and that we examined it in two independent populations, one in Europe and one in the U.S. with similar results.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: These compounds identified in this study are banned in many products, but since many of these (e.g., older vinyl flooring, electric cables, toys, etc.) have long life length, they can exposure people for several decades. From a consumers point of view it is good to try to find information on ingredients in these kind of products, but that can be difficult.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: We need other kind of more experimental studies that can tell us the biological mechanisms behind these effects.
Bornehag C, Lindh C, Reichenberg A, et al. Association of Prenatal Phthalate Exposure With Language Development in Early Childhood. JAMA Pediatr. Published online October 29, 2018. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2018.3115
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