Psychiatry Advisor: PBDE exposure in utero may increase anxiety risk
Psychiatry Advisor recently highlighted research led by the University of Cincinnati and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center that sheds light on the connection between exposure to environmental toxins in utero and the later development of anxiety during adolescence.
Lead author Jeffrey Strawn, MD, and his colleagues published the study in the journal Depression & Anxiety.
The study focused on a class of chemicals called polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) that were used as flame retardants for products like furniture foam padding, insulation, rugs, upholstery, computers and appliances. The researchers used data from the Health Outcomes and Measures of the Environment (HOME) study, which enrolled 468 pregnant women in the Greater Cincinnati region from 2003-2006 and continued to follow up with their children up to 12 years later.
The study found that each time the PBDE levels doubled in a pregnant mother’s blood sample was associated with increased anxiety scores in the adolescents, suggesting PBDE exposure during pregnancy may be a risk factor for developing anxiety symptoms in early adolescence.
Featured photo at top of Dr. Strawn. Photo/Colleen Kelley/UC Marketing + Brand.