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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter March 7, 2019

Exposure to environmental toxicants and young children’s cognitive and social development

Alexandra N. Davis, Gustavo Carlo, Zehra Gulseven, Francisco Palermo, Chung-Ho Lin, Susan C. Nagel, Danh C. Vu, Phuc H. Vo, Thi L. Ho and Jane A. McElroy

Abstract

Background

Understanding the role of environmental toxicant exposure on children’s development is an important area of inquiry in order to better understand contextual factors that shape development and ultimately school readiness among young children. There is evidence suggesting negative links between exposure to environmental toxicants and negative physical health outcomes (i.e. asthma, allergies) in children. However, research on children’s exposure to environmental toxicants and other developmental outcomes (cognitive, socioemotional) is limited.

Objectives

The goal of the current review was to assess the existing literature on the links between environmental toxicants (excluding heavy metals) and children’s cognitive, socioemotional, and behavioral development among young children.

Methods

This literature review highlights research on environmental toxicants (i.e. pesticide exposure, bisphenol A, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, tobacco smoke, polychlorinated biphenyls, flame retardants, phthalates and gas pollutions) and children’s development across multiple domains.

Results

The results highlight the potential risk of exposure to multiple environmental toxicants for young children’s cognitive and socioemotional development.

Discussion

Discussion will focus on the role of environmental toxicants in the cognitive and socioemotional development of young children, while highlighting gaps in the existing literature.

  1. Research funding: Funding support for this project was provided by an award from Mizzou Advantage from MU, and a Margaret Mangel Catalyst Award and a Seeding Interdisciplinary Research Collaboration from the MU College of Human Environmental Sciences.

  2. Conflict of interest: The authors declare they have no actual or potential competing financial interests.

  3. Informed consent: Informed consent is not applicable.

  4. Ethical approval: The conducted research is not related to either human or animal use.

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Received: 2018-07-29
Accepted: 2018-12-19
Published Online: 2019-03-07
Published in Print: 2019-03-26

©2019 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston