Remember that powerful commercial from back in the 80’s? Growing up, I couldn’t turn on the TV without hearing it (or someone making fun of it). This is your brain. This is your brain on drugs…Any questions?
Well, this is your brain. This is your brain on PVC.
As children and teachers are going back to school across America, scientists are sounding the alarm about ubiquitous endocrine-disrupting chemicals lurking inside of our schools: phthalates in PVC/vinyl building materials, school and office supplies.
A new study by researchers at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health heightens concerns over the potential effects on children’s brain development.
The new study published in Environmental Health Perspectives Journal found that:
“exposures to two of the phthalates significantly increased the odds of motor delay, an indication of potential future problems with fine and gross motor coordination. Among girls, one of the phthalates was associated with significant decreases in mental development. Prenatal exposures to three of the phthalates were also significantly associated with behavior problems including emotionally reactive behavior, anxiety/depression, somatic complaints and withdrawn behavior.”
The Columbia University press release states that:
“Recent studies of school-age children have provided preliminary links between prenatal exposure to phthalates and developmental problems. The study is the first to examine prenatal phthalate exposure and the prevalence of mental, motor and behavioral problems in children who are in the preschool years.”
According to lead researcher Dr. Robin Whyatt from Columbia University:
“Our results suggest that prenatal exposure to these phthalates adversely affects child mental, motor and behavioral development during the preschool years. The results add to a growing public health concern about the widespread use of phthalates in consumer products.”
Skeptics may wonder if other factors played a role, but the researchers controlled for a range of factors like tobacco smoke, lead, pesticides, race, ethnicity, age, marital status, and others. Even after controlling for these various factors, there was still a significant link between the mothers’ phthalate levels and their children’s development.
And let’s not forget, over 90% of phthalates are used in PVC products, like the vinyl flooring in our kids’ schools. They’re banned in toys, but widespread in our schools.