Vilahur N, Fernandez MF, Bustamante M, Ramos R, Forns J, Ballester F, Murcia M, Riano I, Ibarluzea J, Olea N, Sunyer J. In utero exposure to mixtures of xenoestrogens and child neuropsychological development. Environ Res. 2014 Oct;134:98-104. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2014.07.002

BACKGROUND: To date, no epidemiological studies have explored the impact and persistence of in utero exposure to mixtures of xenoestrogens on the developing brain. We aimed to assess whether the cumulative effect of xenoestrogens in the placenta is associated with altered infant neuropsychological functioning at two and at four years of age, and if associations differ among boys and girls.

METHODS: Cumulative prenatal exposure to xenoestrogens was quantified in the placenta using the biomarker Total Effective Xenoestrogen Burden (TEXB-alpha) in 489 participants from the INMA (Childhood and the Environment) Project. TEXB-alpha was split in tertiles to test its association with the mental and psychomotor scores of the Bayley Scales of Infant Development (BSID) at 1-2 years of age, and with the McCarthy Scales of Children׳s Abilities (MSCA) general cognitive index and motor scale assessed at 4-5 years of age. Interactions with sex were investigated.

RESULTS: After adjustment for potential confounders, no association was observed between TEXB-alpha and mental scores at 1-2 years of age. We found a significant interactions with sex for the association between TEXB-alpha and infant psychomotor development (interaction p-value=0.029). Boys in the third tertile of exposure scored on average 5.2 points less than those in the first tertile on tests of motor development at 1-2 years of age (p-value=0.052), while no associations were observed in girls. However, this association disappeared in children at 4-5 years of age and no association between TEXB-alpha and children׳s cognition was found.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that boys' early motor development might be more vulnerable to prenatal exposure to mixtures of xenoestrogens, but associations do not persist in preschool children.

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