Title
Prenatal exposure to environmental contaminants and behavioural problems at age 7-8 years Prenatal exposure to environmental contaminants and behavioural problems at age 7-8 years
Author
Faculty/Department
Faculty of Pharmaceutical, Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences . Biomedical Sciences
Publication type
article
Publication
Oxford ,
Subject
Chemistry
Biology
Source (journal)
Environment international. - Oxford
Volume/pages
59(2013) , p. 225-231
ISSN
0160-4120
0160-4120
ISI
000324901000025
Carrier
E
Target language
English (eng)
Full text (Publishers DOI)
Affiliation
University of Antwerp
Abstract
Animal studies showed that the developing brain is particularly sensitive to chemical exposure. Human studies carried out in areas with high exposures have proven neurodevelopmental disorders in relation to e.g. lead and PCBs. Whether these chemicals are associated with behavioural problems in childhood at current environmental levels is not well known. Therefore, we assessed the association between prenatal exposure to lead, cadmium, PCBs, dioxin-like compounds, HCB and p,p'-DDE and behavioural problems in 7-8 year old children. Prenatal exposure data were obtained from the Flemish mother-new-born cohort. Lead, cadmium, PCBs, dioxin-like compounds, HCB and p,p'-DDE were analysed in cord blood. When the child reached 7-8 years, 270 mothers completed the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire assessing their children's behavioural health. We found that doubling the prenatal lead exposure (cord blood lead levels) was associated with a 3.43 times higher risk for hyperactivity in both boys and girls. In addition, total difficulties were 5.08 times more likely in the highest tertile for prenatal lead exposure compared to the lowest tertile. In girls, total difficulties were 4.92 more likely when doubling cord blood p,p'-DDE, whereas no significant association was found in boys. Further, we noted in boys a 1.53 times higher risk for emotional problems when doubling cord blood cadmium, whereas no significant association was found in girls. These results indicate that the presence of environmental contaminants influences the mental health of the next generation. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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