Lower IQ In Kids Linked To Mom’s Exposure To Flame Retardants In Pregnancy

By The Canadian Press
The Canadian Press
The Canadian Press
May 28, 2014 Updated: May 29, 2014

VANCOUVER—Researchers in B.C. say lower IQ and greater hyperactivity in young children appears to be significantly linked to a woman’s exposure to flame retardants during early pregnancy.

The Simon Fraser University study found there’s an association between women being exposed to a 10-fold increase of certain chemicals when their baby’s brain is developing and a 4.5-point drop in the standard measure of intelligence.

The chemicals of concern are polybrominated diphenyl ethers, known as PBDEs, which have been widely used to prevent the spread of fire in furniture, carpet padding and car seats.

Researcher and health sciences Prof. Bruce Lanphear says North Americans are likely exposed to higher amounts of PBDEs than people in other parts of the world, and it could take decades to flush the chemicals from their environments.

The study suggests the impact of the chemicals is comparable to exposure to lead, which was once used in various products including paint and pipes in homes and offices.

The long-term study, published online in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, followed more than 300 U.S. women from 16 weeks of pregnancy to when their children were five years old.