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Int J Hyg Environ Health. 2016 Jul;219(4-5):331-42. doi: 10.1016/j.ijheh.2016.05.001. Epub 2016 May 11.

Environmental pollutants and child health-A review of recent concerns.

Author information

1
ISGlobal, Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL), Barcelona, Spain; Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF), Barcelona, Spain; CIBER Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP), Barcelona, Spain. Electronic address: mvrijheid@creal.cat.
2
ISGlobal, Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL), Barcelona, Spain; Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF), Barcelona, Spain; CIBER Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP), Barcelona, Spain.
3
ISGlobal, Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL), Barcelona, Spain; Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF), Barcelona, Spain; CIBER Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP), Barcelona, Spain; ISGlobal, Barcelona Centre for International Health Research (CRESIB), Hospital Clínic-Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.
4
ISGlobal, Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL), Barcelona, Spain; Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF), Barcelona, Spain; CIBER Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP), Barcelona, Spain; Department of Environmental Health, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA, United States.

Abstract

In recent years, many new studies have evaluated associations between environmental pollutants and child health. This review aims to provide a broad summary of this literature, comparing the state of epidemiological evidence for the effects of a wide range of environmental contaminants (air pollutants, heavy metals, organochlorine compounds, perfluoroalkyl substances, polybrominated diphenyl ethers, pesticides, phthalates and bisphenol A) on child health outcomes. The review addresses effects on foetal growth and prematurity, neurodevelopment, respiratory and immune health, and childhood growth and obesity. Findings of recent prospective studies and meta-analyses have corroborated previous good evidence, often at lower exposure levels, for effects on foetal growth of air pollution and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), for neurotoxic effects of lead, methylmercury, PCBs and organophosphate pesticides, and for respiratory health effects of air pollution. Moderate evidence has emerged for a potential role of environmental pollutants in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism (lead, PCBs, air pollution), respiratory and immune health (dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene - DDE - and PCBs), and obesity (DDE). In addition, there is now moderate evidence that certain chemicals of relatively recent concern may be associated with adverse child health outcomes, specifically perfluorooctanoate and foetal growth, and polybrominated diphenyl ethers and neurodevelopment. For other chemicals of recent concern, such as phthalates and bisphenol A, the literature is characterised by large inconsistencies preventing strong conclusions. In conclusion, since most of the recent literature evaluates common exposures in the general population, and not particularly high exposure situations, this accumulating body of evidence suggests that the unborn and young child require more protection than is currently provided. Large, coordinated research efforts are needed to improve understanding of long-term effects of complex chemical mixtures.

KEYWORDS:

Child health; Environmental pollutants; Pregnancy

PMID:
27216159
DOI:
10.1016/j.ijheh.2016.05.001
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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