Prenatal exposure to phthalates associated with increased ADHD risk in offspring

With the increase of childhood neurodevelopmental disorders, there is a need to better understand the underlying causes. There is growing evidence that exposure to phthalates, a ubiquitous class of chemicals found in toys, furniture, and food packaging, might contribute to such disorders. Indoor exposure to phthalates is of particular concern because the chemicals are not chemically bound and can be released into the air or other media over time.

In a study published in the May 2018 issue of Environmental Health Perspectives, Norwegian researchers found there was an association between increased maternal urinary concentrations of Di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP) and the risk of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms in young children. DEHP is known to cross the placenta, and by measuring DEHP metabolites collected in maternal urine in mid-pregnancy, they were able to determine the in-utero exposure.

While more research is necessary to continue to understand the specifics of DEHP pathways and impact in the body, we can work toward implementing the precautionary principle that removes such suspicious chemicals from the market until we better understand in depth what risks they carry. In the meantime, Health Care Without Harm offers resources to help avoid DEHP in medical devices.

[Source: Environmental Health Perspectives]