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Environ Health Perspect; DOI:10.1289/EHP39

Prenatal Exposure to Glycol Ethers and Neurocognitive Abilities in 6-Year-Old Children: The PELAGIE Cohort Study

Rémi Béranger,1 Ronan Garlantézec,1,2 Gaïd Le Maner-Idrissi,3 Agnès Lacroix,3 Florence Rouget,1,4 Jessica Trowbridge,1 Charline Warembourg,1 Christine Monfort,1 Florent Le Gléau,5 Marylène Jourdin,5 Luc Multigner,1 Sylvaine Cordier,1 and Cécile Chevrier1
Author Affiliations open
1INSERM U1085-IRSET, University Rennes 1, Rennes, France; 2University Hospital Rennes, Rennes, France; 3Research Centre for Psychology, Cognition and Communication (CRPCC EA 1285), University of Rennes 2, Rennes, France; 4Department of Pediatrics, Rennes University Hospital, Rennes, France; 5LABOCEA, Plouzané, France

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  • Background: Glycol ethers (GE) are widely used organic solvents. Despite the potential neurotoxicity of several families of organic solvents, little is known about the impact of GE on the neurodevelopment of infants and children.

    Objectives: We investigated the relation between urinary concentrations of GE metabolites in pregnant women and neurocognitive abilities in their 6-year-old children in the PELAGIE mother-child cohort.

    Methods: Five GE metabolites were measured in first-void urine samples of 204 French pregnant women in early pregnancy (<19 weeks of gestation). Psychologists assessed the neurocognitive abilities of their six-year-old children with the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children IV (WISC) and the Developmental Neuropsychological Assessment (NEPSY). We analyzed the results with linear (WISC) and Poisson regression models (NEPSY), adjusted for potential confounders, including child’s stimulation at home.

    Results: GE metabolites were detected in 90–100% of maternal urine samples. The WISC Verbal Comprehension score was significantly lower for children with the highest tertile of urinary phenoxyacetic acid (PhAA) (beta (third vs first tertile) = -6.53; 95%CI: -11.44, -1.62). Similarly, the NEPSY Design Copying subtest score was lower in those with the highest tertile of urinary ethoxyacetic acid (EAA) (beta (third vs first tertile) = -0.11; 95%CI: -0.21, 0.00). The other GE metabolites we studied were not significantly associated with WISC or NEPSY scores.

    Conclusions: Prenatal urine concentrations of two GE metabolites were associated with lower WISC Verbal Comprehension Index scores and NEPSY Design Copying subscale scores, respectively, at age six. PhAA is the primary metabolite of 2-phenoxyethanol (EGPhE), which is commonly found in cosmetics, and precursors of EAA are frequently used in cleaning agents. Additional research is needed to confirm our findings and further explore potential effects of prenatal GE exposures on neurocognitive performance in children.

  • This EHP Advance Publication article has been peer-reviewed, revised, and accepted for publication. EHP Advance Publication articles are completely citable using the DOI number assigned to the article. This document will be replaced with the copyedited and formatted version as soon as it is available. Through the DOI number used in the citation, you will be able to access this document at each stage of the publication process.

    Citation: Béranger R, Garlantézec R, Le Maner-Idrissi G, Lacroix A, Rouget F, Trowbridge J, Warembourg C, Monfort C, Le Gléau F, Jourdin M, Multigner L, Cordier S, Chevrier C. Prenatal Exposure to Glycol Ethers and Neurocognitive Abilities in 6-Year-Old Children: The PELAGIE Cohort Study. Environ Health Perspect; http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/EHP39

    Received: 26 February 2016
    Revised: 26 September 2016
    Accepted: 26 September 2016
    Published: 14 October 2016

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