Less lead, more IQ; more flame retardants, less IQ; BPA and semen quality, plus more / June 2014 Science Digest #1 (human research)

June 9, 2014 at 4:15 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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June 2014 Science Digest #1 // Human Research

IQ, Lead | The possible societal impact of the decrease in U.S. blood lead levels on adult IQ. Given lead’s well-documented neurotoxicity, it should be expected that the dramatic decreases in US blood lead levels since the 1970s would be accompanied by a 4-5-point increase in the mean IQs of Americans. The results of this study suggest this has indeed been the case.

IQ, Flame Retardants | Prenatal Polybrominated Diphenyl Ether Exposures and Neurodevelopment in U.S. Children through 5 Years of Age. Study linking prenatal PBDE exposure to lower IQs and greater hyperactivity in five-year old children: a 10-fold increase in PBDE concentrations in early pregnancy, when the fetal brain is developing, was associated with a 4.5 IQ decrement, comparable with the impact of environmental lead exposure. (“Now we’ve seen this pattern of toxicity with low level environmental chemicals — lead, mercury, now fire retardants — let’s not do it again,” says Prof. Bruce Lanphear.)

Behaviour, Phthalates | Prenatal Phthalate Exposures and Neurobehavioral Development Scores in Boys and Girls at 6–10 Years of Age. In boys, concentrations of monoisobutyl phthalate were associated with higher scores for inattention, rule-breaking behavior, aggression, and conduct problems. The molar sum of di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate metabolites was associated with higher scores for somatic problems.

Semen Quality, BPA | Urinary Bisphenol A Levels in Young Men: Association with Reproductive Hormones and Semen Quality. This pattern of associations between BPA and reproductive hormones could indicate an antiandrogenic or antiestrogenic effect, or both, of BPA on the hypothalamic–pituitary–gonadal hormone feedback system, possibly through competitive inhibition at the receptor level.

Autistic traits, EDCs | Gestational Exposure to Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals and Reciprocal Social, Repetitive, and Stereotypic Behaviors in 4- and 5-Year-Old Children. Some EDCs were associated with autistic behaviors in this cohort. The researchers state that modest sample size means chemicals with null associations cannot be excluded as increasing risk of autism. PFOA, β-hexachlorocyclohexane, PCB-178, PBDE-28, PBDE-85, and trans-nonachlor deserve additional scrutiny as factors that may be associated with childhood autistic behaviors.

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