Exposure to Chemical Mixtures during Pregnancy alters Brain Development
People are increasingly exposed to environmental chemicals which are a major contributor to endocrine disruption. This is a concern for human and animal health development as they enter the body from several sources, including water, food, and air. While exposure levels for individual chemicals are often below existing limit values, exposure to the same chemicals in complex mixtures can still impact human health.
These chemicals interfere with psychological hormone regulation which can eventually lead to increased susceptibility to diseases throughout the life span, including neurodevelopmental disorders. Research conducted by Swedish Environmental Longitudinal, Mother and child, Asthma and allergy (SELMA) identified that exposure to an EDC mixture in early pregnancy is associated with language delay in offspring. At human-relevant concentrations, this mixture disrupted hormone-regulated and disease-relevant regulatory networks in human brain organoids. Up to 54% of the children had prenatal exposures above experimentally derived levels of concern, reaching, for the upper decile compared with the lowest decile of exposure, a 3.3 times higher risk of language delay.