Cognitive function among schoolchildren in Lebanon: association with maternal alcohol drinking and smoking during pregnancy and domestic use of detergents and pesticides during childhood

  • Souheil HallitEmail author
  • Chadia Haddad
  • Rouba Karen Zeidan
  • Sahar Obeid
  • Nelly Kheir
  • Talar Khatchadourian
  • Pascale Salameh
Research Article


To evaluate the relation between caregiver exposure to toxics during pregnancy and childhood and the child’s cognitive function in Lebanese children. This was a cross-sectional study conducted on Lebanese students in public and private schools from November 2017 to May 2018, enrolling 464 children. A first linear regression, taking the Cattell total score as the dependent variable and taking sociodemographic characteristics and the family history of the child as independent variables, showed that higher age (Beta = 1.65) was significantly associated with higher cognition, whereas a history of eczema in any of the parents (Beta = −7.32) was significantly associated with lower cognition in the child. A second linear regression, taking the Cattell total score as the dependent variable and taking sociodemographic characteristics and the family history of the child, and the exposure to toxics as independent variables, showed that maternal alcohol intake during pregnancy (Beta = −1.07) and detergent mixing (Beta = −1.48) were significantly associated with lower cognition in the child. A third linear regression, taking the Cattell total score as the dependent variable and taking sociodemographic characteristics and the family history of the child, the exposure to toxics and the diseases in the child as independent variables, showed that maternal alcohol intake during pregnancy (Beta = −1.07) and detergent mixing (Beta = −1.45) were significantly associated with lower cognition in the child, whereas a history of eczema in the child before the age of 2 years (Beta = 8.72) was significantly associated with higher cognition in the child. This study is the first to examine the association of a child’s prenatal exposure and their exposure during childhood to environmental toxicants with their cognitive function in Lebanon. We consider this study to be important as it shows the possible effect of cleaning products mixing and maternal alcohol consumption on cognitive functions among children in Lebanon.


Toxics Alcohol Detergents Cognitive function Pregnancy Childhood 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest to report.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Medicine and Medical SciencesHoly Spirit University of Kaslik (USEK)JouniehLebanon
  2. 2.INSPECT-LB:Institut National de Sante Publique, Epidemiologie Clinique et ToxicologieBeirutLebanon
  3. 3.Psychiatric Hospital of the CrossJal EddibLebanon
  4. 4.Faculty of Public HealthLebanese UniversityFanarLebanon
  5. 5.Faculty of Philosophy and Human SciencesHoly Spirit University of Kaslik (USEK)JouniehLebanon
  6. 6.Faculty of PedagogyLebanese UniversityBeirutLebanon
  7. 7.Faculty of PedagogyUniversité de la Sainte FamilleBatrounLebanon
  8. 8.Faculty of MedicineLebanese UniversityBeirutLebanon
  9. 9.Faculty of PharmacyLebanese UniversityBeirutLebanon

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