Friday, 23 April 2010

Paper of the week: Effects of prenatal exposure of pthalates

Pthalates are esters of pthalic acid that are commonly added to plastics but also are found in diverse products ranging from cosmetics to pharmaceutical pills. As could be expected, studies that monitor phthalate metabolites in human populations have shown that they are widely present. Over the years, there have been many concerns over their effect on human health notably as hormonal disrupting agents. This has led to the regulation of some phthalates in consumer products in Europe and the United States, which in some cases,have been replaced with others. Recent evidences indicate that endocrine disruption might only be a tip of the iceberg and that pthalates might have other health effects as well.

It is well known that maternal exposure of pollutants make their way to the offspring and in many cases can have deleterious consequences. It appears that this dogma can also be applied to the case of the pthalates. In a study by Engel et al published in Environmental health perspectives,;jsessionid=E899A81379071E8E095EF53E962F597F?articleURI=info%3Adoi%2F10.1289%2Fehp.0901470

the authors questioned whether there was any association between prenatal phthalate exposure to the behavior of offspring. The study occurred in a multiethnic prenatal population enrolled in the Mount Sinai Children’s Environmental Health Study in New York City between 1998 and 2002. Urine samples of mothers during the third-trimester of pregnancy was collected and analyzed for phthalate metabolites. Subsequently, cognitive and behavioral development of the children was assessed between the ages of 4 and 9. Interestingly, the scientists found that increased concentrations of low-molecular-weight (LMW) phthalate metabolites in the mothers were associated with poorer scores on aggression, conduct problems, attention problems, and depression in the children. These results led them to conclude that behavioral domains adversely associated with prenatal exposure to LMW phthalates in this study are commonly affected in children clinically diagnosed with conduct or attention deficit hyperactivity disorders.

This study and several of its predecessors, extend the known adverse effects of pthalates, which calls for increased caution. What is urgently needed are more hard core studies elucidating the toxicology of pthalates and their metabolites, that will help us understand the consequences of exposure. However, these studies will take time; the evidence at hand should motivate nations to re-evaluate their policies on pthalates and enforce strict regulations.

Engel SM, Miodovnik A, Canfield RL, Zhu C, Silva MJ, Calafat AM, & Wolff MS (2010). Prenatal phthalate exposure is associated with childhood behavior and executive functioning. Environmental health perspectives, 118 (4), 565-71 PMID: 20106747

1 comment:

Sarah Stephen said...

Indeed frightening since the phtalates are so widely used. But we are now so dependent on all of these products that it is hard to envisage not using these!


By using this blog, you signify your agreement to this disclaimer. Do not use this website if you do not agree to this disclaimer.

This blog is published by Sarah Stephen and Ruth Stephen, and reflects the personal views of the contributors, in their individual capacities as a concerned citizen of this planet. The term 'Ecoratorio', as well as every graphic, opinion, comment, and statement expressed in this blog are the exclusive property of the blog publishers and contributors (© 2009 - present), unless explicitly stated otherwise, and should not be disseminated without the written consent of the author(s). The views expressed in this blog are not necessarily representative of the views of any school, college, University, company, organisation, city, town, state, country, or church where the author(s) have studied, worked, worshipped, or lived, and is not sponsored or endorsed by them.

This blog and its contents does not receive any sponsorship, financial or otherwise, neither is it aimed at generating any money.

The matter on this blog has been prepared for informational purposes only, and the reader(s) should not solely rely upon this information for any purpose nor should he/she assume that this information applies to his/her specific situation. Furthermore, the matter on this blog may or may not reflect the current and future trends/developments, may or may not be general or specific, accordingly, information on this blog is not promised, or guaranteed, to be correct or complete. The publishers and author(s) explicitly disclaims all liability in respect to actions taken, or not taken, based on any, or all, the contents of this blog. Thus, the reader(s) is/are reading the posts and arriving at conclusions about the information, or about the author(s), or otherwise, at his/her own risk.

This blog may contain weblinks, which are provided solely for the reader(s) convenience. Such weblinks to another blog or website does not imply any relationship, affiliation, endorsement, responsibility, or approval of the linked resources or their contents (over which we have no control). Accessing these links will be at the reader(s)’s own risk.

The publishers and author(s) are not responsible for translation and interpretation of content. Occasionally, the blog might contain subjects which may be considered offensive from certain individuals’ points-of-view, and the author(s) refuses to accept any liability for any psychological, physical, and emotional reactions, short-term or long-term, which the posts might generate in the reader(s). However, each post in this blog is the individual opinion of the author(s) and is not intended to malign any city/town/village, state, country, continent, faith, religion, practice, ethnic group, club, organisation, company, or individual. Neither are the publishers and author(s) responsible for any statements bound to government, religious, or other laws from the reader(s)’s country of origin.

The publishers and author(s) reserves the right to update, edit, delete or otherwise remove, the posts or any comments, the latter of which might be deemed offensive or spam. The publishers and author(s) cannot warrant that the use of this blog will be uninterrupted or error-free, or that defects on this site will be corrected. The publishers and author(s) also reserves the right to publish in print media, in whole or part, any of the posts which might be an edited version. If the reader(s) has a problem with any post, the publishers and author(s) expects them to contact them, explaining the reasons for their discomfort. However, if the reader(s) choose to communicate with the publishers and author(s) by email, the reader(s) must note that since the security of unencrypted email is uncertain, sending sensitive or confidential emails holds the risks of such uncertainty and possible lack of confidentiality.

The publishers and author(s) reserve the right to change this Disclaimer, from time to time, in their sole and absolute discretion. If the reader(s) using this website after the institution of such changes, he/she is signifying their agreement to these changes. The publishers and author(s) also reserve the right to discontinue any aspect of this website at any time.