Flame Retardant Exposure During Pregnancy Linked with Reading Problems in Children

Earlier this week we posted the results of scientific research indicating that flame retardants are among the current top killers of IQ in the U.S. Now the results of another new study appear to support these findings. The results of the current scientific study indicate that the children of mothers exposed to flame retardants during their pregnancy have an increased risk for the type of cognitive deficits that lead to reading problems.

Study overview

In the current study, the researchers hypothesized that in utero exposure to polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) — a type of flame retardant that is known to have adverse effects on brain development — might alter the brain processes involved in reading.

The research team analyzed neuro-imaging data from thirty-three 5-year-old children — all novice readers — who were first given a reading assessment to identify reading problems. They also used maternal blood samples, taken during pregnancy, to estimate prenatal exposure to PBDEs.

Study results overview

The results indicate that children with greater exposure to PBDEs had a less efficient brain network for reading.

“Our findings suggest that exposure to PBDEs doesn’t affect the whole brain — just the regions associated with reading.”

-Amy Margolis, PhD, assistant professor of medical psychology, Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons

CFL Graphic-Nail Polish chemical flame retardant can enter body

Here are other serious health outcomes the research has linked to flame retardants:

Common Chemical Linked with Motor Control Problems in Girls

Exposure to PBDE in the Womb Linked to Lifelong Metabolic Disorder

Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals, Phthalates, Flame Retardants Detected in Wristband Study

Kids Carry Toxic Chemicals in Their Bodies from Vinyl Flooring, Furniture

Toxic Chemical Discovered in Dental Floss

Top 4 Toxic Chemicals Inside Your Home to Avoid

Another Common Household Chemical Linked to Harming Cats

U.S. homes are like mini chemical storage facilities: New study

Commonly used chemicals endanger brain development: New report

Are You Sitting on Toxic Furniture?


Journal Reference: Amy E. Margolis, Sarah Banker, David Pagliaccio, Erik De Water, Paul Curtin, Anny Bonilla, Julie B. Herbstman, Robin Whyatt, Ravi Bansal, Andreas Sjödin, Michael P. Milham, Bradley S. Peterson, Pam Factor-Litvak, Megan K. Horton. Functional connectivity of the reading network is associated with prenatal polybrominated diphenyl ether concentrations in a community sample of 5 year-old children: A preliminary study. Environment International, 2020; 134: 105212 DOI: 10.1016/j.envint.2019.105212