Female mice exposed to PBDEs, a type of flame-retardant found on everyday household items, pass on the chemicals to their developing offspring. In female offspring, this can cause alterations in social memories and behaviors which are reminiscent of human compulsive behaviors associated with autism.
Exposure to flame retardants and pesticides resulted in more than a million cases of intellectual disability in children between 2001 and 2016. However, adverse outcomes from exposure to mercury and lead fell significantly during the same period.
Children whose mothers were exposed to PBDE flame retardants while pregnancy had less efficient reading networks, and increased risk of developing reading disorders.
Children whose mothers were exposed to PBDEs during pregnancy may have a lower IQ than their peers who did not experience prenatal exposure, a new study reports. Researchers found that every 10 fold increase of maternal PBDE levels was associated with a drop of 3.7 IQ points in her child.