New research on exposure to PAHs in pregnancy and early child neurodevelopment published in Environmental International

January 15, 2022

Environment International published findings from a study by ECHO PATHWAYS investigators that examined associations between exposure in pregnancy to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), toxic chemicals formed from burning of things such as gasoline, wood, or tobacco, and toddler-age neurodevelopment. The study included 835 mother-child pairs in the CANDLE cohort; PAHs were measured mid-pregnancy in urine and child cognition, language, and behavior were assessed at ages two and three years. The investigators found that exposure to some, but not all, of the PAHs studied were associated with changes in development and behavior, including a higher risk for developmental delay. The study also found that adequate prenatal nutrition, including folate and vitamin D, was not protective against any toxic effects of PAHs. ECHO PATHWAYS investigator Dr. Erin Wallace was the first author and mPI Dr. Catherine Karr was the last author.