HealthDay News — Developmental polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) exposure may be tied to reduced intelligence, according to a review published in Environmental Health Perspectives.

Juleen Lam, PhD, from the University of California, San Francisco, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature review to identify articles that quantified developmental exposures to PBDEs (incurred any time in proximity to conception or during in utero, perinatal, or childhood) in relation to effects on intelligence or attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and attention-related behavioral conditions.

The researchers identified 10 studies evaluating intelligence and 9 for attention-related problems. Overall, studies were rated as of “moderate” quality with “sufficient” evidence for an association between IQ and PBDEs. Four studies included in a meta-analysis estimated a 10-fold increase in PBDE exposure associated with a decrement of 3.70 IQ points (95% CI, 0.83-6.56). Studies were rated as “moderate” quality for ADHD with “limited” evidence for an association with PBDEs, based on the heterogeneity of association estimates reported and the fact that chance, bias, and confounding could not be confidently ruled out.

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“Preventing developmental exposure to PBDEs could help prevent loss of human intelligence,” the authors wrote.

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Lam J, Lanphear BP, Bellinger D, et al. Developmental PBDE exposure and IQ/ADHD in childhood: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Environ Health Perspect. 2017;125(8):086001.