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Infants’ Neurodevelopmental Effects of PM2.5 and Persistent Organohalogen Pollutants Exposure in Southern Taiwan

Category: Air Pollution and Health Effects

Volume: 9 | Issue: 12 | Pages: 2793-2803
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2019.10.0550

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Cheng-Chih Kao1,2, Chih-Cheng Chen 3, Japheth L. Avelino4, Mariene-syne P. Cortez4, Lemmuel L. Tayo4, Yi-Hsien Lin5, Ming-Hsieh Tsai6, Chu-Wen Lin6, Yi-Chyun Hsu7, Lien-Te Hsieh1, Chieh Lin1, Lin-Chi Wang8,9,10, Kwong-Leung J. Yu2, How-Ran Chao1,11,12

  • 1 Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, National Pingtung University of Science and Technology, Pingtung 91201, Taiwan
  • 2 Superintendent Office, Pingtung Christian Hospital, Pingtung 90053, Taiwan
  • 3 Section of Neonatology, Department of Pediatrics, Kaohsiung Chang-Gung Memorial Hospital and Chang Gung University College of Medicine, Kaohsiung 83347, Taiwan
  • 4 School of Chemical, Biological and Materials Engineering and Sciences, Mapúa University, Intramuros, Manila 1002, Philippines
  • 5 Department of Plant Medicine, National Pingtung University of Science and Technology, Pingtung 91201, Taiwan
  • 6 Department of Child Care, National Pingtung University of Science and Technology, Pingtung 912, Taiwan
  • 7 Department of Environmental Engineering, Kun Shan University, Tainan 71003, Taiwan
  • 8 Department of Civil Engineering and Geomatics, Cheng Shiu University, Kaohsiung 83347, Taiwan
  • 9 Center for Environmental Toxin and Emerging-Contaminant Research, Cheng Shiu University, Kaohsiung 83347, Taiwan
  • 10 Super Micro Mass Research and Technology Center, Cheng Shiu University, Kaohsiung 83347, Taiwan
  • 11 Institute of Food Safety Management, College of Agriculture, National Pingtung University of Science and Technology, Pingtung 91201, Taiwan
  • 12 Emerging Compounds Research Center, General Research Service Center, National Pingtung University of Science and Technology, Pingtung 91201, Taiwan


  • PM2.5 has neurological impact on motor skill and social emotion.
  • Certain PBDEs in breast milk are negatively correlated to the PM2.5 exposure areas.
  • Breast milk γ-HCH is inversely related with the PM2.5 exposure areas.
  • Breastmilk organohalogens may largely affect the infants’ neurodevelopment than airborne PM2.5.
  • Many environmental factors, except pollutants probably affect the infants’ neurodevelopment.


Several studies have stated the harmful effects of PM2.5 to population health, including disruption of neurological development. However, the mechanism behind the neurodevelopmental effects of ambient PM2.5 and postnatal PBDEs and OCPs exposure is still unknown. Our goal was to determine influence of breastmilk residues, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and organochlorine pesticides (OCPs), to the infants’ neurodevelopment with respect to high and low PM2.5 exposure areas. The participants were recruited from high PM2.5 exposure areas (n = 32) and low PM2.5 exposure areas (n = 23) of southern Taiwan. The extracted 14 PBDEs and 20 OCPs compounds were analyzed using gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometer. The infants, aging from 8-12 months, were examined by Bayley Scales of Infants and Toddlers Development, Third Edition (Bayley-III) for neurodevelopment. Results showed that high PM2.5 exposure caused reduced head circumference and had significant effects on the motor skill and social emotional development. For breastmilk PBDEs, a positive correlation between BDE-196 and social emotion, after multivariate analysis with adjustment of confounders, was observed while BDE-99, 196, 197, and 207 showed higher magnitudes in low PM2.5 areas than in high PM2.5 areas. For OCPs, only γ- hexachlorcyclohexanes (γ-HCH) presented the significant difference between high and low PM2.5 exposure areas. Most breastmilk OCPs residues, including 4,4’-dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (4,4’-DDT), γ-HCH, endrin, and heptachlor epoxide showed negative impact on the Bayley-III scores after multivariate analysis. In conclusion, infants’ neurodevelopment was significantly correlated with the location of PM2.5 exposure and breastmilk intake of certain PBDEs and OCPs. Breastmilk OCPs might obviously affect infants’ neurodevelopment more compared to breastmilk PBDEs based on our finding. Moreover, this study further employs awareness about viable effects of PM2.5 in infants’ neurodevelopment.


PM2.5 Organochlorine pesticide PBDEs Infant neurodevelopment Bayley-III

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