Exposure To Plasticizers In Pregnancy Linked To Lower IQ In Children

Exposure To Plasticizers In Pregnancy Linked To Lower IQ In Children
Why Your Child Has A Low IQ?

Prenatal exposure to plasticizers could lead to smaller total gray matter in childhood, and thereby lower IQ.

Written by Longjam Dineshwori |Published : September 22, 2023 12:20 PM IST

Wondering why your child has a low intelligence quotient (IQ)? A child's intelligence can be influenced by both genetic and environmental factors, starting from the prenatal period itself. Risk factors that are associated with intelligence issues in children include genetic conditions, chromosomal disorders, birth defects, infections, childhood malnutrition, low parental IQ, and prenatal alcohol or drug exposure. Maternal exposure to certain plasticizers may also have a negative impact on the child's intelligence.

A study published in Molecular Psychiatry has linked exposure to phthalates during pregnancy with lower IQ in children.

The research, led by led by the NYU Grossman School of Medicine and the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), found smaller total gray matter in the brains of children whose mothers were highly exposed to certain phthalates during pregnancy. They believe this may be associated with a lower IQ in childhood.

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What are phthalates?

These are a group of chemicals which are widely used as plasticizers and solvents in personal care products, food packaging, vinyl flooring, and many other commercial products. Exposure to phthalates has also been linked to behavioral problems in children and associated with lower cognitive function, social development, and motor skills.

Acknowledging the possible health effects of phthalates, many countries including the US have increased the regulations against these ubiquitous compounds.

Children born during COVID-19 pandemic have lower IQs

Earlier, a US study had shown that children born during the coronavirus pandemic have lower IQs (reduced verbal, motor and overall cognitive performance) compared with children born before the pandemic.

According lead study author Sean Deoni from Brown University, limited stimulation at home and less interaction with the world outside are main reasons behind the falling IQ scores in pandemic-era children.

The pandemic led to the closure of businesses, nurseries, schools and playgrounds, which affected life for infants considerably. As parents had to struggle to balance work and home, their interaction with the children decreased substantially.

Children from lower socioeconomic families have been most affected, Deoni stated.