Common chemicals can interfere with a child’s development

Studies show that during exposure to phthalates pregnancy May be related to behavioral issues

NS Matt McMillan
WebMD Health News

Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

September 7, 2011-Research shows that chemicals in various consumer products can be detrimental to a child’s mental and behavioral development and muscle coordination.

The study is published at Environmental hygiene outlook.

Phthalate esters (pronounced phthalates) are used to make plastics more flexible and durable. They are also used as solvents.

Chemicals are used in products such as car interiors, floor tiles, raincoats and nail polish cosmetic, Synthetic leather, and food packaging.

More and more studies show evidence that phthalates can be particularly harmful to young children.

It’s not clear how they confuse development.However, some evidence suggests that chemicals can have an impact. Thyroid hormone level. These hormone levels are Before birth When Newborn baby Studies show brain development.

Phthalate esters can also reduce the amount of testosterone produced in the body, says research researcher Dr. Robin M. Wyatt. Wyatt is the Deputy Director of the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health at Columbia University.

Testosterone is important for male sexual development. It also plays a role in the development of the brains of both boys and girls, says Whyatt.

“There are many ways this could work,” she says. “We are just beginning to understand these mechanisms.”

Evaluation of child development

This study is the first to examine the effects of phthalates on preschoolers. Wyatt and her team studied 319 children born between 1999 and 2006.

Researchers measured each mother’s exposure level to four common phthalates pregnancy By performing a single urine analysis of each mother. They also performed regular urinalysis of 48 mothers for 6 to 8 weeks. Pregnancy stage..

Each child was evaluated at age 3 to assess mental, muscular coordination, and behavioral development.

Researchers have found two of the phthalates- Mononucleosis-N-Butyl phthalate (MnBP) and monoisobutyl phthalate (MiBP)-were significantly associated with delayed development of muscle coordination. These delays increased with increasing concentrations of phthalates.

Among girls, MnBP was also associated with delayed mental development.Among boys, MnBP was associated with withdrawal behavior and increase Change your mood, Panic, whining, and anxiety.

Another phthalate ester (monobenzyl phthalate (MBzP)) was associated with anxiety depression Action.Among girls, it was also associated with dissatisfaction with symptoms such as: headache And stomachache.

“I was pretty depressed, especially when I was surprised by behavioral problems,” Whyatt said of her reaction to the findings. “We didn’t expect it at all, but it was a consistent pattern and very important …. these are really really consistent discoveries right away.”

Findings cause controversy

The Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental organization that supports the regulation of phthalates, welcomes Whyatt’s research.

“This study further confirms that prenatal exposure to phthalates is detrimental to the development of the child’s brain,” said Dr. Sarayansen, MD, NRDC, in a statement.

However, the American Chemical Council (ACC) Represents the chemical industry and disagrees with the validity of the study.

“Since all children who participated in the study appear to be within normal fluctuations, the author’s conclusion that the slight differences seen in the study indicate behavioral problems is not supported by science. Seems. “Read a statement that questioned the method of study. “Suggesting a spot measurement from” is inappropriate Pregnant The mother may be associated with an impact on the child’s behavior. “

Wyatt responded quickly.

“I don’t know what ACC calls” normal, “but it should be noted that 17.6% of the children in our study demonstrated a risk of exercise. [muscular coordination] Delay; 27.9% demonstrated the risk of mental retardation and 12.9% were within the clinical scope of internalizing behavior, “she wrote in an email.

When it comes to “spot measurements,” Whyatt supports the method used by her and her colleagues.

“In fact, we did a lot of work to assess the reliability of the biomarkers used in this study,” she writes. Wyatt is convinced that the effects of phthalates on child development should be taken very seriously. But she says there’s little you can do to avoid chemicals that are everywhere.

“I wish I had some advice,” she says.

Wyatt agrees with ACC that there are many factors that can endanger a child’s development, and phthalates are just one of them. But she says, just because multiple risk factors may be acting is not a reason to dismiss the risks posed by phthalates.

However, there are also factors that play a positive role in growing children, saying that Whyatt has a far greater impact on children’s development.

“The most important thing is how parents interact with their children, where they read and play,” she says. “Reading and playing are far more important than these risk factors.”


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Source: Whyatt, R. Environmental Health Perspectives, published online September 6, 2011, Robin Whyatt, DrPH, Deputy Director of the Center for Child Environmental Health, Columbia University, Statement, American Chemistry Council, Statement, Natural Resources Defense Council © 2011 WebMD, LLC. all rights reserved.

Common chemicals can interfere with a child’s development

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