Exposure to Common Flame Retardants May Contribute to Attention Problems in Children

Prenatal exposure to polybrominated diphenyl ethers and child attention problems at 3–7 years

Prenatal exposure to some flame retardants that have been widely-used in consumer products is associated with attention problems in children ages three through seven, according to a study by researchers at the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health, within Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health, ccceh reports.

Abstract

Introduction
Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) comprise a class of halogenated compounds used extensively as flame retardant chemicals in consumer products resulting in nearly ubiquitous human exposure. Mounting evidence suggests that PBDEs are developmental neurotoxicants; however, associations between early life exposure and child behavior have been largely limited to a single developmental time point.

Methods
The study population consists primarily of white, black and Chinese women who were pregnant on 11 September 2001 and delivered at 1 of 3 downtown New York City hospitals. Maternal–child pairs were followed through age 7 years. Cord blood was collected at delivery and PBDE plasma levels for 210 samples were analyzed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Child Behavior Checklist, a validated maternal-report instrument used for assessing child behavior, was administered annually between the ages of 3 and 7 years. We analyzed the association between natural log-transformed and dichotomized (low vs. high) PBDEs and attention problems using multivariable adjusted negative binomial regression.

Results
We detected 4 PBDE congeners in more than 50% of samples, with concentrations highest for BDE-47 (median ± IQR: 11.2 ± 19.6 ng/g). In adjusted analyses, we detected associations between BDE-47 (1.21, 95% CI: 1.00, 1.47), and BDE-153 (1.18, 95% CI: 1.00, 1.39) in cord plasma and increased attention problems among children at age 4 (n = 109) but not 6 (n = 107) years.

Conclusions
Our findings demonstrate a positive trend between prenatal PBDE exposure and early childhood attention problems, and are consistent with previous research reporting associations between prenatal PBDE exposure and disrupted child behaviors.

60 MiNueTs Toxic

UCSF Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment, 2017

Video published on 18 Apr 2019 by the UCSF Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment.

The University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment (PRHE)’s mission is to create a healthier environment for human reproduction and development through advancing scientific inquiry, clinical care and health policies that prevent exposures to harmful chemicals in our environment.

More Information

Why are ObGyns Talking Toxins ?

Let’s make environmental health part of health care

Doctors from 125 countries want policies to prevent exposure to toxic chemicals

Produced for PRHE by Susan Lamontagne, Public Interest Media Group, for the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) XXI World Congress on September 30, 2015.

Why are Doctors Talking Toxins ?

And how to reduce exposure to toxic chemicals worldwide ?

It’s time to shift the burden of proof, from scientists, back to the chemical industry

Video published on 5 June 2019, by UCSF Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment.

ADHD rates rised from 6 to 10 percent in US kids, research says

Twenty-Year Trends in Diagnosed Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Among US Children and Adolescents, 1997-2016

The number of ADHD diagnoses among children has risen sharply in the past two decades, a new study shows, MedicalXpress reports.

Key Points

Question
What are the long-term trends in prevalence of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder among US children and adolescents over the past 2 decades?

Findings
In this study of data from 186 457 children and adolescents aged 4 to 17 years from the National Health Interview Survey, a nationwide, population-based, cross-sectional survey conducted annually from 1997 to 2016, the estimated prevalence of diagnosed attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in US children and adolescents increased from 6.1% in 1997-1998 to 10.2% in 2015-2016.

Meaning
Among US children and adolescents, the estimated prevalence of diagnosed attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder increased significantly between 1997 and 2016.

Research Abstract

Importance
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is common in US children and adolescents. It is important to understand the most recent prevalence of ADHD and its long-term trends over the past decades.

Objective
To estimate the prevalence of diagnosed ADHD and 20-year trends from 1997 to 2016 among US children and adolescents using nationally representative data.

Design, Setting, and Participants
In this population-based, cross-sectional survey study (National Health Interview Survey), surveys were conducted annually from 1997 to 2016. A total of 186 457 children and adolescents aged 4 to 17 years from 1997 to 2016 were included in this analysis. Data were collected through in-person household interviews with a parent or guardian. The data analysis was performed in January 2018.

Main Outcomes and Measures
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder diagnosed by a physician or other health care professional.

Results
Among the included 186 457 children and adolescents (96 017 boys [51.5%], 51 350 Hispanic [27.5%], 91 374 non-Hispanic white [49.0%], 28 808 non-Hispanic black [15.5%], 14 925 non-Hispanic other race [8.0%]), 14 704 children and adolescents (7.9%; 10 536 boys [71.7%], 2497 Hispanic [17.0%], 9010 non-Hispanic white [61.3%], 2328 non-Hispanic black [15.8%], and 869 non-Hispanic other race [5.9%]) were reported to have ever been diagnosed with ADHD. The weighted prevalence of diagnosed ADHD was 10.2% (95% CI, 9.6%-10.8%) in 2015-2016. There were significant sex and racial/ethnic disparities in the prevalence of diagnosed ADHD. The prevalence was 14.0% (95% CI, 13.1%-15.0%) in boys and 6.3% (95% CI, 5.6%-7.0%) in girls, 6.1% (95% CI, 5.2%-7.0%) in Hispanic individuals, 12.0% (95% CI, 11.1%-12.9%) in non-Hispanic white individuals, and 12.8% (95% CI, 11.0%-14.5%) in non-Hispanic black individuals. Over the 20-year period, the estimated prevalence of diagnosed ADHD in US children and adolescents increased from 6.1% in 1997-1998 to 10.2% in 2015-2016 (P for trend <.001). All subgroups by age, sex, race/ethnicity, family income, and geographic regions showed a significant increase in the prevalence from 1997-1998 to 2015-2016.

Conclusions and Relevance
This study’s findings suggest that among US children and adolescents, the estimated prevalence of diagnosed ADHD increased significantly between 1997-1998 and 2015-2016. This study suggests that additional research is needed to better understand the cause of this apparent rise in prevalence.

EU should ban brain-harming chlorpyrifos to protect health

Exposure to chlorpyrifos is linked to ADHD and autism. It should not be allowed on the European market

Today, the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) together with Générations Futures, Pesticide Action Network Europe and Pesticide Action Network Germany released a factsheet on the health effects of chlorpyrifos.

Chlorpyrifos is one of the most widely used pesticides in Europe and its residues are also commonly found in our food. The current authorisation for chlorpyrifos on the European market will expire on 31 January 2019. We are very concerned about the possibility of an extended authorisation due to its health harming properties. Chlorpyrifos is linked to the disruption of the hormonal system and effects on the developing human brain. Children exposed to chlorpyrifos in the womb or in early life can suffer neurodevelopmental effects later in life, like attention deficit disorders (ADHD) and autism.

This factsheet sets out the case and evidence against the use of chlorpyrifos and explains the health impacts which justify its ban.

Reference.

Widespread risk from brain-harming chlorpyrifos, state scientists find

Current uses of chlorpyrifos put children at risk from unsafe levels of exposure from residues on food, contaminated water, and pesticide drift

Nerve agent chlorpyrifos is a toxic air contaminant that threatens agricultural communities and harms children’s developing brains, PAN North America reports, July 30, 2018.

Sacramento, CA – California took a step closer Monday to curbing the use of a pesticide linked to permanent brain harm, including ADHD, autism and IQ loss. Sixteen months after disgraced former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt defied his own scientists and refused to ban the neurotoxic organophosphate chlorpyrifos, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) has concluded their own study by largely agreeing with the EPA scientists: current uses of chlorpyrifos put children at risk from unsafe levels of exposure from residues on food, contaminated water, and pesticide drift up to half a mile. Now, children’s health advocates are pushing the department to follow the science with sound policy, and become the second state in the nation to ban it. Hawaii’s state legislature passed a statewide ban in May.

DPR’s scientific conclusions were announced at a hearing convened Monday by the state’s Scientific Review Panel (SRP), a body of independent scientists overseeing DPR’s risk assessment of chlorpyrifos. Review of the chemical had been on hold for many years pending the proposed federal ban. The SRP formally accepted the risk assessment Monday, and unanimously agreed to designate chlorpyrifos a Toxic Air Contaminant, joining a list of 46 other chemicals including a number of fumigant pesticides. DPR now has ten working days to initiate the regulatory process formalizing the Toxic Air Contaminant designation.

“We’re glad that the state has finally accepted the overwhelming consensus of federal and independent scientists who’ve studied chlorpyrifos for years and determined that it harms kids’ brains severely and irreversibly,”

said Mark Weller, co-director of the statewide coalition Californians for Pesticide Reform.

It’s what comes next that will determine for how long California’s communities will continue to be put at risk. DPR has the authority to halt exposures immediately by suspending use in California while formal assessment of control options are considered. However, DPR may also follow the timeline under the Toxic Air Contaminant regulations that allow for two years to decide how to mitigate the risk to children’s brain health. And meanwhile, almost a million pounds continues to be used on California’s food crops each year, exposing thousands of children and pregnant women to a chemical that permanently damages the developing brain.

“With everything we now know, it’s unconscionable that this toxic chemical is still being used on food crops in California,”

“The state must immediately suspend all use of chlorpyrifos to protect kids, farmworkers and agricultural communities.”

said Miriam Rotkin-Ellman, senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals and Behavior

Special issue of Hormones and Behavior, Volume 101, Pages 1-148, May 2018

The peer-reviewed journal Hormones and Behavior, Volume 101, Pages 1-148 (May 2018), raises concern about how many of the 90,000+ chemicals in use today may disrupt our most basic endocrine systems with significant consequences for neurodevelopment, neurophysiology, healthy brain aging, and behavior.

Several articles address bisphenol A :

About PDBEs, triclosan, and other replacement chemicals :

Other studies included in this special issue address behavioral effects of voluntary taken pharmaceuticals, including birth control pills, and pain medications.

About DES and the BRAIN :

Behavioral effects of pain medications

Increased risk of adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes following prenatal non-prescription paracetamol exposure

2018 Study Highlights

  • All nine studies suggest prenatal APAP is associated with adverse neurodevelopment.
  • These neurodevelopmental endpoints include ADHD, ASD and lower IQ.
  • Associations were strongest for hyperactivity and attention-related outcomes.
  • Controlling for indication for use, when possible, did not explain associations.
  • Given these findings, pregnant women should be cautioned against indiscriminate APAP use.

Abstract

Background
The non-prescription medication paracetamol (acetaminophen, APAP) is currently recommended as a safe pain and fever treatment during pregnancy. However, recent studies suggest a possible association between APAP use in pregnancy and offspring neurodevelopment.

Objectives
To conduct a review of publications reporting associations between prenatal APAP use and offspring neurodevelopmental outcomes.

Methods
Relevant sources were identified through a key word search of multiple databases (Medline, CINAHL, OVID and TOXNET) in September 2016. All English language observational studies of pregnancy APAP and three classes of neurodevelopmental outcomes (autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and intelligence quotient (IQ)) were included. One reviewer (AZB) independently screened all titles and abstracts, extracted and analyzed the data.

Results
64 studies were retrieved and 55 were ineligible. Nine prospective cohort studies fulfilled all inclusion criteria. Data pooling was not appropriate due to heterogeneity in outcomes. All included studies suggested an association between prenatal APAP exposure and the neurodevelopmental outcomes; ADHD, ASD, or lower IQ. Longer duration of APAP use was associated with increased risk. Associations were strongest for hyperactivity and attention-related outcomes. Little modification of associations by indication for use was reported.

Conclusions
Together, these nine studies suggest an increased risk of adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes following prenatal APAP exposure. Further studies are urgently needed with; precise indication of use and exposure assessment of use both in utero and in early life. Given the current findings, pregnant women should be cautioned against indiscriminate use of APAP. These results have substantial public health implications.

Can the most frequently used anaesthetic in paediatrics affect the next generation ?

Role of epigenetic mechanisms in transmitting the effects of neonatal sevoflurane exposure to the next generation of male, but not female, rats

2018 Study Abstract

Background
Clinical studies report learning disabilities and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorders in those exposed to general anaesthesia early in life. Rats, primarily males, exposed to GABAergic anaesthetics as neonates exhibit behavioural abnormalities, exacerbated responses to stress, and reduced expression of hypothalamic K+-2Cl− Cl− exporter (Kcc2). The latter is implicated in development of psychiatric disorders, including male predominant autism spectrum disorders. In this study, we tested whether parental early life exposure to sevoflurane, the most frequently used anaesthetic in paediatrics, affects the next generation of unexposed rats.

Methods
Offspring (F1) of unexposed or exposed to sevoflurane on postnatal day 5 Sprague-Dawley rats (F0) were subjected to behavioural and brain gene expression evaluations.

Results
Male, but not female, progeny of sevoflurane-exposed parents exhibited abnormalities in behavioural testing and Kcc2 expression. Male F1 rats of both exposed parents exhibited impaired spatial memory and expression of hippocampal and hypothalamic Kcc2. Offspring of only exposed sires had abnormalities in elevated plus maze and prepulse inhibition of startle, but normal spatial memory and impaired expression of hypothalamic, but not hippocampal, Kcc2. In contrast to exposed F0, their progeny exhibited normal corticosterone responses to stress. Bisulphite sequencing revealed increased CpG site methylation in the Kcc2 promoter in F0 sperm and F1 male hippocampus and hypothalamus that was in concordance with the changes in Kcc2 expression in specific F1 groups.

Conclusions
Neonatal exposure to sevoflurane can affect the next generation of males through epigenetic modification of Kcc2 expression, while F1 females are at diminished risk.