Saf Health Work.  2013 Mar;4(1):1-11.

Prenatal Exposures to Environmental Chemicals and Children's Neurodevelopment: An Update

  • 1Boston Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA.


This review surveys the recent literature on the neurodevelopmental impacts of chemical exposures during pregnancy. The review focuses primarily on chemicals of recent concern, including phthalates, bisphenol-A, polybrominated diphenyl ethers, and perfluorinated compounds, but also addresses chemicals with longer histories of investigation, including air pollutants, lead, methylmercury, manganese, arsenic, and organophosphate pesticides. For some chemicals of more recent concern, the available literature does not yet afford strong conclusions about neurodevelopment toxicity. In such cases, points of disagreement among studies are identified and suggestions provided for approaches to resolution of the inconsistencies, including greater standardization of methods for expressing exposure and assessing outcomes.


Chemicals and drugs; Child; Neurobehavioral manifestations; Behavior
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