Gestational exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals and reciprocal social, repetitive, and stereotypic behaviors in 4- and 5-year-old children: The HOME study

  • J.M. B
  • A.E. K
  • A.C. J
  • et al.
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Abstract

Background: Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) may be involved in the etiology of autism spectrum disorders, but identifying relevant chemicals within mixtures of EDCs is difficult. Objective: Our goal was to identify gestational EDC exposures associated with autistic behaviors. Methods: We measured the concentrations of 8 phthalate metabolites, bisphenol A, 25 polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), 6 organochlorine pesticides, 8 brominated flame retardants, and 4 perfluoroalkyl substances in blood or urine samples from 175 pregnant women in the HOME (Health Outcomes and Measures of the Environment) Study (Cincinnati, OH). When children were 4 and 5 years old, mothers completed the Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS), a measure of autistic behaviors. We examined confounder-adjusted associations between 52 EDCs and SRS scores using a two-stage hierarchical analysis to account for repeated measures and confounding by correlated EDCs. Results: Most of the EDCs were associated with negligible absolute differences in SRS scores (<= 1.5). Each 2-SD increase in serum concentrations of polybrominated diphenyl ether-28 (PBDE-28) (beta = 2.5; 95% CI: -0.6, 5.6) or trans-nonachlor (beta = 4.1; 95% CI: 0.8-7.3) was associated with more autistic behaviors. In contrast, fewer autistic behaviors were observed among children born to women with detectable versus nondetectable concentrations of PCB-178 (beta = -3.0; 95% CI: -6.3, 0.2), beta-hexachlorocyclohexane (beta = -3.3; 95% CI: -6.1, -0.5), or PBDE-85 (beta = -3.2; 95% CI: -5.9, -0.5). Increasing perfluorooctanoate (PFOA) concentrations were also associated with fewer autistic behaviors (beta = -2.0; 95% CI: -4.4, 0.4). Conclusions: Some EDCs were associated with autistic behaviors in this cohort, but our modest sample size precludes us from dismissing chemicals with null associations. PFOA, beta-hexachlorocyclohexane, PCB-178, PBDE-28, PBDE-85, and trans-nonachlor deserve additional scrutiny as factors that may be associated with childhood autistic behaviors.

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J.M., B., A.E., K., A.C., J., K., Y., A.M., C., A., S., … A., C. (2014). Gestational exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals and reciprocal social, repetitive, and stereotypic behaviors in 4- and 5-year-old children: The HOME study. Environmental Health Perspectives, 122(5), 513–520. https://doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1307261

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