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Association between prenatal exposure to polybrominated diphenyl ethers and young children's neurodevelopment in China

Ding, Guodong, Yu, Jing, Cui, Chang, Chen, Limei, Gao, Yu, Wang, Caifeng, Zhou, Yijun, Tian, Ying
Environmental Research 2015 v.142 pp. 104-111
animals, blood, children, confidence interval, environmental health, lipids, mothers, neurodevelopment, polybrominated diphenyl ethers, sociodemographic characteristics, China
The use of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) has been dramatically increasing over the last two decades in China. Animal studies suggest that prenatal exposure to PBDEs may result in neurodevelopmental deficits. Two hundred thirty-two participating mothers were recruited from a prospective birth cohort in rural northern China between September 2010 and February 2012. We analyzed 232 cord blood specimens for selected PBDE congeners and examined their association with children's developmental quotients (DQs) at 12 (n=192) and 24 (n=149) months of age based on the Gesell Developmental Schedules (motor, adaptive, language, and social domains). There were no substantial differences by demographic characteristics among the three time points: baseline, 12 and 24 months of age. Median cord blood levels of PBDE congeners 47, 99, 100, and 153 were 3.71, 6.70, 2.63, and 2.19ng/g lipid, respectively. At 12 months of age, neither the individual nor total (the sum of BDEs 47, 99, 100, and 153) congener levels were associated with any of the four domain DQs. However, at 24 months of age, a 10-fold increase in BDE-99 levels was associated with a 2.16-point decrease [95% confidence interval (CI): −4.52, −0.20] in language domain DQs and a 10-fold increase in BDE-47 levels was associated with a 1.89-point decrease (95% CI: −3.75, −0.03) in social domain DQs. Prenatal exposure to PBDEs was associated with lower DQs in young children. The results contribute to the growing evidence that PBDEs could act as developmental neurotoxicants,and the findings have implications for children's environmental health in China.