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Exposure to Fire Retardants in Pregnancy Associated with Hyperactivity and Lower IQ in Kids

fire extinguisherCBS News reported this week on a new study presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting that showed that flame retardants put in household items to protect kids are actually causing them harm long-term when the mother is pregnant and has been exposed.

The chemicals, called Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), are meant to minimize risk of fire in household items such as couches, strollers, and rugs. According to CBS news, the chemicals were proven harmful and haven’t been widely used in the U.S. since 2004. However, since the chemicals don’t biodegrade easily they still exist in older products–and scarily–in the tissue of people exposed years ago.

The study measured the amount of PBDEs in the blood of 309 pregnant women and then followed the behavior and cognitive abilities of their kids until age 5. The findings showed that “prenatal exposure to the chemicals was associated with lower cognitive abilities at 5 and increased hyperactivity from 2 through 5 years old,” according to CBS News.

Yikes. These findings make me nervous because how would I even know if I was exposed to these chemicals? I try really hard to avoid chemical exposure while pregnant but then I read something like this and I realize damage may have been done years ago that I can’t control. They could have been on my old couch or the carpeting in my old apartment. Gah!

Do you worry about your past exposure to chemicals during your current pregnancy?

Source credit: CBS News

Photo credit: iStock

Read more of Claire’s writing at Rants from MommylandAnd for even more silliness follow her on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.

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