A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Pediatrics shows a troubling connection between prenatal exposure to common household chemicals and childhood language delays. Around 10 percent of children born to women exposed to chemicals, called phthalates, displayed language delays in their children between the ages of 30 and 37 months.
Delays constituted using 50 words or less. Children displaying more significant delays understood less than 25 words. Speech delays are only one way these chemicals have been shown to impact the developing fetus. The JAMA study adds to a growing body of research that indicates these chemicals are harmful to the developing human brain and therefore should be more strictly regulated.
Phthalates are a group of chemicals designed to make plastic more flexible and durable. They are in everything from children’s toys, to beauty and personal products, to building materials. These chemicals enter the environment and can be found in the air we breathe and food we consume. They are detectable in human blood, breast milk, and even in the amniotic fluid surrounding a growing baby.
Swedish and American researchers partnered on the study, which followed more than 1300 expectant mothers in both countries. Urine samples taken from the women were tested for phthalates. One hundred percent of the participants in the JAMA study showed traces of phthalates in their bodies.
Researchers identified two types of phthalates that seemed linked to verbal delays: dibutyl phthalate and butyl benzyl phthalate. Mothers with higher levels of these two chemicals had children with discernible speech delays. Researchers say their findings suggest more investigation into the effects of phthalates on humans is warranted. They intend to follow up with the children in three to four years to assess their language development at that time.
Because these chemicals are virtually all around us, it is not easy for pregnant women to avoid them altogether. To make it even more challenging, many products like textiles and flooring that contain these toxic chemicals do not label their ingredients. To decrease the risk of exposure to phthalates, consumers should look for products that are labeled phthalate-free and avoid foods and drinks that are overly processed. Experts also recommend keeping a tidy house, as phthalates on products and items throughout the home become mixed with household dust.
At Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A., your Wilmington chemical and toxic exposure lawyer works diligently to prove liability for your illness or injuries. We will secure the documentation you need to prove your claim including medical records and evidence of your exposure to these hazardous chemicals. To schedule your free consultation, call 302-656-5445 or contact us online today. With locations in Wilmington and Georgetown, Delaware, we proudly represent clients throughout Dover, Sussex County, and New Castle County.