Flame Retardant Materials and Children’s Health

According to a new study by University of California,  Berkley – Some Flame Retardant materials are linked to lower IQs and poorer coordination in children.


In Utero and Childhood Polybrominated Diphenyl Ether (PBDE) Exposures and Neurodevelopment in the CHAMACOS Study

Advance Publication


Objective: California children’s exposures to polybrominated diphenyl ether flame retardants (PBDEs) are among the highest worldwide. PBDEs are known endocrine disruptors and neurotoxicants in animals. Here, we investigate the relation of in utero and child PBDE exposure to neurobehavioral development among participants in CHAMACOS, a California birth cohort.

Methods: We measured PBDEs in maternal prenatal and child serum samples and examined the association of PBDE concentrations with children’s attention, motor functioning, and cognition at ages 5 (N=323) and 7 years (N=310).

Results: Maternal prenatal PBDE concentrations were associated with impaired attention as measured by a continuous performance task at age 5 and maternal report at ages 5 and 7, with poorer fine motor coordination – particularly in the non-dominant hand – at both age points, and with decrements in Verbal and Full-Scale Intelligence Quotient (IQ) at age 7. Child age 7 PBDE concentrations were significantly or marginally associated with concurrent teacher reports of attention problems and decrements in Processing Speed, Perceptual Reasoning, Verbal Comprehension, and Full Scale IQ. These associations were not altered by adjustment for birthweight, gestational age, or maternal thyroid hormone levels.

Conclusions: Both prenatal and childhood PBDE exposures were associated with poorer attention, fine motor coordination, and cognition in the CHAMACOS cohort of school-age children. This study, the largest to date, contributes to growing evidence suggesting that PBDEs have adverse impacts on child neurobehavioral development.

Citation: Eskenazi B, Chevrier J, Rauch SA, Kogut K, Harley KG, Johnson C, Trujillo C, Sjodin A, Bradman A. In Utero and Childhood Polybrominated Diphenyl Ether (PBDE) Exposures and Neurodevelopment in the CHAMACOS Study. Environ Health Perspect (): .doi:10.1289/ehp.1205597

Received: June 9, 2012; Accepted: November 7, 2012; Published: November 15, 2012

Advance Publication

This EHP Advance Publication article has been peer-reviewed, revised, and accepted for publication. The EHPAdvance Publication articles are completely citable using the assigned DOI code for the article. This document will be replaced with the copyedited and formatted version as soon as it is available. Through the DOI number used in the citation, you will be able to access this document at each stage of the publication process.

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