Children’s environmental health based on birth cohort studies of Asia

Numerous studies have explored the associations between environmental pollutants and paediatric health. Recent studies have investigated the issue in Asia, but no systematic review has been published to date. This study aims to elucidate the issue by summarising relevant epidemiologic evidence for cohorts in Asia, using information from the Birth Cohort Consortium of Asia (BiCCA). Environmental pollutants include mercury, environmental tobacco smoke (ETS), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB), perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and phthalates. This study sought to classify the effects of such compounds on foetal growth and pregnancy outcomes, neurodevelopment and behavioural problems, allergic disease and immune function and the endocrine system and puberty. These evidences showed ETS has been associated with infant birth weight, children’s neurodevelopment and allergy disease; mercury and PCB have been shown to affect children’s neurodevelopment; phthalate has effects on endocrine function; PFAS alters children’s neurodevelopment, the endocrine system, and the allergic response. However, more consistent and coordinated research is necessary to understand the whole picture of single environmental and/or co-exposure and children’s health. Therefore, harmonisation and international collaboration are also needed in Asia.

Authors: Tsai MS, Chen MH, Lin CC, Ng S, Hsieh CJ, Liu CY, Hsieh WS, Chen PC. ; Full Source: Science of the Total Environment. 2017 Jul 26; 609:396-409. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.07.081. [Epub ahead of print]