Childhood exposures to environmental chemicals and neurodevelopmental outcomes in congenital heart disease
Infant; Humans; Child, Preschool; Prospective Studies; Bayes Theorem; Heart Defects, Congenital (chemically induced, surgery); Parabens; Phenols; Biomarkers
BACKGROUND: Children with congenital heart defects have an increased risk of neurodevelopmental disability. The impact of environmental chemical exposures during daily life on neurodevelopmental outcomes in toddlers with congenital heart defects is unknown. METHODS: This prospective study investigated the impacts of early childhood exposure to mixtures of environmental chemicals on neurodevelopmental outcomes after cardiac surgery. Outcomes were assessed at 18 months of age using The Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development-III. Urinary concentrations of exposure biomarkers of pesticides, phenols, parabens, and phthalates, and blood levels of lead, mercury, and nicotine were measured at the same time point. Bayesian profile regression and weighted quantile sum regression were utilized to assess associations between mixtures of biomarkers and neurodevelopmental scores. RESULTS: One-hundred and forty infants were enrolled, and 110 (79%) returned at 18 months of age. Six biomarker exposure clusters were identified from the Bayesian profile regression analysis; and the pattern was driven by 15 of the 30 biomarkers, most notably 13 phthalate biomarkers. Children in the highest exposure cluster had significantly lower adjusted language scores by -9.41 points (95%CI: -17.2, -1.7) and adjusted motor scores by -4.9 points (-9.5, -0.4) compared to the lowest exposure. Weighted quantile sum regression modeling for the overall exposure-response relationship showed a significantly lower adjusted motor score (β = -2.8 points [2.5th and 97.5th percentile: -6.0, -0.6]). The weighted quantile sum regression index weights for several phthalates, one paraben, and one phenol suggest their relevance for poorer neurodevelopmental outcomes. CONCLUSIONS: Like other children, infants with congenital heart defects are exposed to complex mixtures of environmental chemicals in daily life. Higher exposure biomarker concentrations were associated with significantly worse performance for language and motor skills in this population.
Gaynor JW, Burnham NB, Ittenbach RF, et al. Childhood exposures to environmental chemicals and neurodevelopmental outcomes in congenital heart disease. PLoS One. 2022;17(11):e0277611. Published 2022 Nov 17. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0277611