In Utero and Childhood Polybrominated Diphenyl Ether (PBDE) Exposures and Neurodevelopment in the CHAMACOS Study
Brenda Eskenazi,1 Jonathan Chevrier,1 Stephen A. Rauch,1 Katherine Kogut,1 Kim G. Harley,1 Caroline Johnson,1 Celina Trujillo,1 Andreas Sjödin,2 and Asa Bradman1
1Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health, School of Public Health, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, California, USA; 2Division of Laboratory Sciences, National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
background: 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.
Objective: Here we investigate the relation of in utero and child PBDE exposure to neurobehavioral development among participants in CHAMACOS (Center for the Health Assessment of Mothers and Children of Salinas), 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 5 (n = 310) and 7 years of age (n = 323).
Results: Maternal prenatal PBDE concentrations were associated with impaired attention as measured by a continuous performance task at 5 years and maternal report at 5 and 7 years of age, with poorer fine motor coordination—particularly in the nondominant—at both age points, and with decrements in Verbal and Full-Scale IQ at 7 years. PBDE concentrations in children 7 years of age 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 birth weight, 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.
Key words: ADHD, attention, biomarkers, children, cognitive development, flame retardants, human exposure, intelligence quotient, Mexican, motor, neurodevelopment, prenatal.
Environ Health Perspect 121:257–262 (2013). http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1205597 [Online 15 November 2012]
Address correspondence to B. Eskenazi, Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health (CERCH), School of Public Health, University of California at Berkeley, 1995 University Ave., Suite 265, Berkeley, CA 94720 USA. Telephone: (510) 642-3496. E-mail: email@example.com
Supplemental Material is available online (http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1205597).
We acknowledge the CHAMACOS staff, students, community partners, and participants, as well as N. Holland and staff for assistance in specimen management.
This publication was made possible by research supported by grants RD 83171001 and RD 826709 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and PO1 ES009605 and RO1 ES015572 from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). Additional funding was provided by the University of California Institute for Mexico and the United States (UC MEXUS).
The contents of this publication are solely the authors’ responsibility and do not necessarily represent the official views of the UC MEXUS, NIEHS, National Institutes of Health, the U.S. EPA, or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The authors declare they have no actual or potential competing financial interests.
Received 9 June 2012; Accepted 7 November 2012; Online 15 November 2012.
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