Study links chemical in plastics to language delays in children

“This family of chemicals has an effect, even in pregnancy, on potentially long-term health outcomes,” said Ruby Nguyen, a researcher and associate professor at the University of Minnesota.

Nguyen is just one of the researchers at the university looking at the effects of the chemical called phthalates found in many plastics.

“We think this is an issue with hormones, and hormones primarily are regulated by the brain,” Nguyen said.

So they began looking at how exposure to this chemical is altering brain function, specifically in children, like language delays.

“What we observed was the higher the phthalates level, the more likely they were to be language delayed,” Nguyen said.

One large problem is there’s a reason this chemical is often called “the everywhere chemical”.

The FDA includes food containers, personal hygiene products and dozens of others on their list of things containing phthalates.

However, there is some good news.

“Low chemical exposure is associated with childhood development,” Nguyen said. “However, it’s important to know these things can change over time. There is early intervention, and there are ways to reduce chemical exposure.”

So reducing chemical exposure and working with these children to help improve these language delays may turn things around.

Nguyen says that the main goal of this study to educate and move forward based on what they are able to learn.

The researchers are also continuing to monitor the children from their studies to see if their physical growth and other health factors are being impacted.


Full Version: