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Environ Health. 2011 Jan 5;10(1):1. doi: 10.1186/1476-069X-10-1.

Polybrominated diphenyl ethers in relation to autism and developmental delay: a case-control study.

Author information

1
Department of Public Health Sciences, School of Medicine, University of California, MS1C, One Shields Ave., Davis, California, USA. ihp@ucdavis.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are flame retardants used widely and in increasing amounts in the U.S. over the last few decades. PBDEs and their metabolites cross the placenta and studies in rodents demonstrate neurodevelopmental toxicity from prenatal exposures. PBDE exposures occur both via breastfeeding and hand-to-mouth activities in small children.

METHODS:

Participants were 100 children from the CHARGE (CHildhood Autism Risk from Genetics and the Environment) Study, a case-control epidemiologic investigation of children with autism/autism spectrum disorder, with developmental delay and from the general population. Diagnoses of autism were confirmed by the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule and Autism Diagnostic Inventory-Revised, and of developmental delay using the Mullen's Scales of Early Learning and the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales. Typically developing controls were those with no evidence of delay, autism, or autism spectrum disorder. Eleven PBDE congeners were measured by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry from serum specimens collected after children were assessed. Logistic regression was used to evaluate the association between plasma PBDEs and autism.

RESULTS:

Children with autism/autism spectrum disorder and developmental delay were similar to typically developing controls for all PBDE congeners, but levels were high for all three groups.

CONCLUSIONS:

Plasma samples collected post-diagnosis in this study may not represent early life exposures due to changes in diet and introduction of new household products containing PBDEs. Studies with direct measurements of prenatal or infant exposures are needed to assess the possible causal role for these compounds in autism spectrum disorders.

PMID:
21205326
PMCID:
PMC3029221
DOI:
10.1186/1476-069X-10-1
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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