Alexandra N. Davis, Gustavo Carlo, Zehra Gulseven, Francisco Palermo, Chung-Ho Lin, Susan C. Nagel, Danh C. Vu, Phuc H. Vo, Thi L. Ho, Jane A. McElroy
March 7, 2019
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.