Flame Retardants and I.Q.


Story Updated: May 29, 2014

Q. points in children, study finds.

Since their introduction in the 1970's flame retardant chemicals were a common feature of furniture, electronics, and carpeting sold in the U.S. Some, but not all of the flame retardants were pulled from the market in 2004- following concerns that exposure might undermine the neurological wellbeing of children. Yet a decade later, many households still contain PBDE products.

And now new research suggests that children born to women exposed to PBDEs while pregnant face a higher risk for both hyperactive behavior and lower IQ. The finding is based on an analysis that initially involved more than 300 pregnant women ages 18 and up. All the mothers-to-be were tested for PBDE exposure between 2003 and 2006 when each woman was 4 months pregnant. Their children subsequently underwent annual neurological testing until they were 5. The results: for every 10-fold bump in maternal PBDE exposure, children showed a nearly 5-point drop in IQ alongside a 3-point jump in hyperactivity.

The researchers say their findings highlight the need to reduce exposure to PBDEs in the home and office environments via such vehicles as dust, and in diet via fish or meat products.

I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV with the health news that matters to you and your family.

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