Phthalates, common chemicals found in everyday consumer products appear to lower a child’s intelligence says a new study published in the medical journal PLOS One. The chemical is used as plastic softeners, food packaging, detergents, nail polish, hair spray and car interiors.
In a study published in the medical journal PLOS One, researchers from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health in New York found women with the highest levels of phthalate in their urine late in pregnancy were more likely to give birth to children who scored lower on intelligence quotient (IQ) tests later in childhood.
Children of the pregnant women in the study were then given the Wechsler Intelligence Test for Children, 4th Edition, at seven years old. The test is used to evaluate four areas of cognitive function and association with overall IQ.
Researchers found that children whose mothers were exposed to higher levels of phthalates in late pregnancy had lower IQ scores at the age of seven.
The FDA says there currently is not enough evidence that phthalates in cosmetics and other products pose a risk to consumers. Despite that statement, six types of phthalates are currently banned from being used in children’s toys.
Some ways to avoid phthalates is to refrain from microwaving food in plastic containers labeled #3, #6 and #7, store food in glass containers instead of plastic. They are also often present in scented products.
Jeffrey Newman represents whistleblowers