I actually hate writing blog posts like this. It was just the other day that I wrote about the link between prenatal smoking and male infertility. But hey, it's a pretty well known fact by now that pregnant moms shouldn't smoke for so many reasons, right?
But I hate writing posts that might add stress to new or soon-to-be moms who are already under enough pressure trying to figure out the best diet, environment, and exercise plan necessary to care for their growing babies. I still remember the day when I was pregnant with my first daughter and a coworker said to me, "you know, every single thing you eat, do, and breathe right now will affect your baby for life." Talk about pressure.
Still, it's better to know than not to know. So with that in mind, I'll write today about a recent study that shows that ADHD-like behavior in school-aged children is related to their prebirth exposure to low levels of persistent organic pollutants.
Organochlorines, such as PCBs and the notorious DDT, are long-lived chemicals that collect in fat and have been banned in many countries because of associated health effects. PCBs were commonly used as electrical insulators. They can cross the placenta from mother to fetus and are linked to behavoior effects. DDE is a breakdown product of the powerful insecticide DDT, which is well known to harm wildlife and for its role to control mosquitoes that carry malaria.
The study linking these chemicals to ADHD was published in the American Journal of Epidemiology. Reseahers followed children born near a PCB-contaminated harbor in Massachusetts. They evaluated the relationship between the behaviors and pollutant levels measured in umbilical cord blood at birth among 607 children aged 7 to 11 years old.
They found that ADHD-like behaviors increased 26 - 79 percent for those with the highest level of four types of PCBs measured in the blood as compared to those with the lowest level of chemicals. Similar relationships were also observed for DDE. These relationships persisted even after controlling for potential confounders, such as smoking habits, socioeconomic status, and blood lead levels.
Just one more thing for pregnant, or soon-to-be pregnant moms to look out for.