A recent study found that women who were exposed to two common chemicals in their home at a high level while pregnant had children with lower IQ scores.
In the first of its kind study, researchers found that children exposed during pregnancy to elevated levels of the chemicals di-n-butyl phthalate and di-isobutyl phthalate had more than 6-points lower on their IQ score than children who had lower levels of exposure, researchers found.
The difference in percentage points in IQ is a big deal.
“A six- or seven-point decline in IQ may have substantial consequences for academic achievement and occupational potential,” senior author Robin Whyatt
, DrPH, Professor of Environmental Health Sciences
and deputy director of the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health
at the Mailman School
said of the study published
in the journal PLOS ONE
And the thing is: there is no effort by the government to warn pregnant women, generally, of the impact of phthalates.
“While there has been some regulation to ban phthalates from toys of young children,” lead author Pam Factor-Litvak, PhD, associate professor of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University in New York.”There is no legislation governing exposure during pregnancy, which is likely the most sensitive period for brain development. Indeed, phthalates are not required to be on product labeling.”
Even though phthalates are hard to avoid, researchers recommend women limit their exposure to them by not microwaving food in plastics, avoiding scented products as much as possible, including air fresheners, and dryer sheets, and not using recyclable plastics labeled as 3, 6, or 7.
The study was conducted on 328 low-income New York city women and their children.