The study showed that maternal exposure to phthalates – plasticiser chemicals – in late pregnancy could have long-lasting adverse effects on motor function in children.
New York: Using personal care products like moisturisers and lipstick – rich in toxic plastic chemical – during pregnancy can affect your baby’s motor skills in adolescence, warns research. The study showed that maternal exposure to phthalates – plasticiser chemicals – in late pregnancy could have long-lasting adverse effects on motor function in children. Phthalate exposures likely occurred when expecting mothers and their children unknowingly ingested small amounts of products like lipstick or plastic food containers or packaging or have absorbed these chemicals through their skin.
“The study adds to the substantial body of evidence on the health risks of phthalates for children, which also includes elevated risk for asthma and cognitive issues,” said Julie Herbstman, Associate Professor at the Columbia University in the US.
As lower scores on measures of motor development have been associated with more problems in cognitive, socio-emotional functioning and behaviour, the results, published in the journal Environmental Research, have implications related to overall child development.
For the study, researchers included 209 children and measured levels of phthalates and their metabolites in urine collected from women during late pregnancy and from their children at ages three, five, and seven.
Children with even subtle motor problems often have difficulty participating in daily activities of childhood, particularly sports. They may also experience low self-worth and self-esteem, high rates of anxiety and depression, as well as behavioural disorders, such as ADHD (Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder), according to Pam Factor-Litvak, Professor at the varsity.
“To the extent possible, expecting mothers should minimise their exposures to products like lipstick and moisturisers that contain these chemicals by paying attention to product labels,” Herbstman suggested.
In addition, policymakers and manufacturers should consider steps to limit or eliminate the use of these chemicals, the study noted.