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Archives of Toxicology

, Volume 89, Issue 5, pp 687–709 | Cite as

Developmental neurotoxicity of persistent organic pollutants: an update on childhood outcome

  • Sietske A. Berghuis
  • Arend F. Bos
  • Pieter J. J. Sauer
  • Elise Roze
Review Article

Abstract

Organohalogens are persistent organic pollutants that have a wide range of chemical application. There is growing evidence that several of these chemical compounds interfere with human development in various ways. The aim of this review is to provide an update on the relationship between various persistent organic pollutants and childhood neurodevelopmental outcome from studies from the past 10 years. This review focuses on exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), hydroxylated PCBs (OH-PCBs), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE), and in addition on exposure to phthalates, bisphenol A, and perfluorinated compounds and their associations with neurodevelopmental outcome in childhood, up to 18 years of age. This review shows that exposure to environmental chemicals affects neurodevelopmental outcome in children. Regarding exposure to PCBs and OH-PCBs, most studies report no or inverse associations with neurodevelopmental outcomes. Regarding exposure to PBDEs, lower mental development, psychomotor development and IQ were found at preschool age, and poorer attention at school age. Regarding exposure to DDE, most studies reported inverse associations with outcome, while others found no associations. Significant relations were particularly found at early infancy on psychomotor development, on attention and ADHD, whereas at school age, no adverse relationships were described. Additionally, several studies report gender-related vulnerability. Future research should focus on the long-term effects of prenatal and childhood exposure to these environmental chemicals, on sex-specific and combined exposure effects of environmental chemicals, and on possible mechanisms by which these chemicals have their effects on neurodevelopmental and behavioral outcomes.

Keywords

Behavior Chemical Environment Infant Neurodevelopment Pollutant 

Abbreviations

ADHD

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder

ASD

Autism spectrum disorder

AVLT

Auditory Verbal Learning Test

BASC

Behavior Assessment System for Children

BPA

Bisphenol A

BSID

Bayley Scales of Infant Development

CADS

Conners’ ADHD/DSM-IV Scales

CBCL

Child Behavior Checklist

CDI

Communicative Development Indices

CNS

Central nervous system

CPT

Continuous Performance Test

CRS-T

Conners’ Rating Scale for Teachers

DBD

Disruptive Behavior Disorders Rating Scale

DCD-Q

Developmental Coordination Disorder Questionnaire

DDE

Dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene

DDT

Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane

IQ

Intelligence quotient

IQR

Inter-quartile range

ITSEA

Infant–Toddler Social and Emotional Assessment

MDI

Mental Developmental Index

NBAS

Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale

NEPSY

Neuropsychological Assessment

OH-PBC

Hydroxylated polychlorinated biphenyl

PBDE

Polybrominated diphenyl ether

PCB

Polychlorinated biphenyl

PDI

Psychomotor Developmental Index

PFC

Perfluorinated compound

PFOA

Perfluorooctanoic acid

PFOS

Perfluorooctane sulfonate

POP

Persistent organic pollutant

TEACh

Test of Everyday Attention for Children

TEQ

Toxic Equivalency Quotient

WISC

Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children

WPPSI

Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence

Notes

Acknowledgments

We acknowledge the Junior Scientific Master Class of the Research School for Behavioral and Cognitive Neurosciences, University of Groningen, The Netherlands, for their financial support.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sietske A. Berghuis
    • 1
  • Arend F. Bos
    • 1
  • Pieter J. J. Sauer
    • 1
  • Elise Roze
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Division of Neonatology, Department of Pediatrics, Beatrix Children’s HospitalUniversity of Groningen, University Medical Center GroningenGroningenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of Pediatrics, Wilhelmina Children’s HospitalUniversity of Utrecht, University Medical Center UtrechtUtrechtThe Netherlands

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