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Ecobaby Foundation – Perinatal dioxin exposure and Neurodevelopmental Delay in Western Europe

In the 1980s in Western Europe, human perinatal exposure to background levels of dioxins was quite high. Therefore Janna Koppe from the Ecobaby Foundation and other authors evaluated the neurodevelopment of their cohort during the prepubertal period and in adolescence.

This is the first paper in Europe that addresses the effects of background levels of dioxins in the period between the period of 1980 - 1990 and neurodevelopment at the age of 7-12 years.

At prepubertal age (7–12 years) 41 children were tested. Both neuromotor functioning and psychological testing were performed. Neurophysiological tests were performed using magneto encephalography and electroencephalography. In adolescence (14–18 years) the behaviour of 33 children was studied again and the levels of dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs (dl-PCBs) were measured in serum.

At prepubertal age no association was found between perinatal dioxin exposure and verbal, performal and total IQ or with the Touwen’s test for neuromotor development. There were behavioral problems associated with both prenatal and postnatal dioxin exposure. In adolescence there were problems associated with the current dioxin levels and dioxin-like-PCBs.

To conclude, with the normal psychological tests we didn’t find a problem, but with the neurophysiologic tests we found a delay of 10% in reaction time which is also related to IQ. There were negative behavioral effects both of the perinatal exposure and the current dioxin levels in adolescence: more social problems and aggressive behaviour reported by teachers and more anxious and depressed feelings reported by parents.

The article is available here via Science of the Total Environment - subscription only

Originally posted on 14 May 2014

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