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Pediatr Res. 2011 Dec;70(6):596-600. doi: 10.1203/PDR.0b013e3182320b9b.

Levels of breast milk PBDEs from southern Taiwan and their potential impact on neurodevelopment.

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Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, National Pingtung University of Science and Technology, Neipu, 912 Pingtung, Taiwan.


In vivo studies have demonstrated that prenatal or neonatal exposure to polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) causes developmental neurotoxicity. However, there is a lack of human data. Our hypothesis was that PBDEs would result in lower infant neurodevelopment scores. This is a post hoc analysis of previous studies. Fourteen PBDEs in 70 breast milk were analyzed using a high-resolution gas chromatograph/high-resolution mass spectrometer. Infant neurodevelopment at the age of 8-12 mo was determined using the Bayley Scales of Infants and Toddlers Development, third edition (Bayley-III). The median of Σ14 PBDEs (the sum of 14 PBDE congeners) was 2.92 ng/g lipid. The Σ14 PBDE concentrations were not correlated with Bayley-III scores on cognitive, language, motor, social-emotional, or adaptive behavior scales. A significantly inverse association between brominated diphenyl ether (BDE)-209 and the cognitive scale was found after multivariate stepwise linear regression analyses (B = -0.007, adjusted R = -0.224, p = 0.032). In contrast, the language scale was positively correlated with BDE-196 (B = 0.096, adjusted R = 0.315, p = 0.002). Our results are consistent with most in vivo studies, suggesting that prenatal or postnatal exposure to BDE-209 potentially delays the neurological development.

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