Chemical Exposure May Cause Learning Problems

New research suggests that chemical exposure from industrial chemicals may lead to learning problems in children.

According to iWatch News, researchers collected umbilical cords from 788 newborns from four towns near New Bedford, MA to find out what chemicals they were exposed to while their mothers were pregnant. The children were born between 1993 and 1998 to mothers who lived near contaminated dump sites in low-income communities.

Researchers tested almost 600 of the children about eight years after birth, monitoring their ability to focus and react to a specific target as well as how well they maintained attention over time.

The results showed that boys who were exposed to higher levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in the womb had lower tests scores on the focus and concentration tests, possibly leading to the development of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The same connection was not found in girls.

“It’s possible that these compounds can impact brain development by altering the hormonal balance of a developing fetus,” said Joe Braun, an epidemiologist at the Harvard School of Public Health. “Boys and girls have different hormonal patterns.”

Although PCBs were banned in the U.S. more than 30 years ago, most U.S. residents have detectable levels in their blood. The chemical has the ability to disrupt hormones and possibly alter how the brain develops.

If you or a loved one has been harmed by chemical exposure, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact Sokolove Law for a free legal consultation.

Photo courtesy of Fastfission via Wikimedia Commons.