Tuesday December 11, 2018

Prenatal Exposure to Plastic Chemical may Reduce Cognitive Skills

As the mPFC is crucial for high-level cognitive functions, reduced cognitive flexibility is observed in developmental disorders such as autism

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Pregnancy, air pollution
Pregnancy is safe for breast cancer survivors: Experts. Pixabay
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Prenatal or early exposure of your kids to a plastic chemical may harm brain development as well as reduce cognitive function, a study says.

Phthalates — chemicals that belong to the same class as Bisphenol A (BPA) and used in food packaging and processing materials — can potentially interfere with hormones important for the developing brain.

The study by researchers including Janice Juraska, from the University of Illinois in the US, showed that rats’ prenatal and early exposure to phthalates was associated with smaller medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) — brain region responsible for deep and dreamless sleep.

They also performed poorly on an attention-switching task than those not exposed to the chemicals early in life.

As the mPFC is crucial for high-level cognitive functions, reduced cognitive flexibility is observed in developmental disorders such as autism
As the mPFC is crucial for high-level cognitive functions, reduced cognitive flexibility is observed in developmental disorders such as autism. Pixabay

The findings, published in Journal of Neuroscience, showed that perinatal phthalate exposure resulted in a reduction in neuron number, synapse number, size of the mPFC and a deficit in cognitive flexibility for both male and female adult offspring of these rats.

As the mPFC is crucial for high-level cognitive functions, reduced cognitive flexibility is observed in developmental disorders such as autism.

Also Read: thyroid Dysfunction May Lead to Diabetes During Pregnancy

The results show that perinatal phthalate exposure can have long-term effects on the cortex and behaviour of both male and female rats.

The findings are important as humans may be regularly exposed to a variety of phthalates, which are endocrine-disrupting chemicals, the researchers warned. (IANS)

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Single-Use Plastic Banned By The European Parliament

The EU plastics bill also includes deadlines for reducing or recycling other plastics such as bottles, fishing lines, food wrappers, and cigarette filters.

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Microplastics, plastic
Plastic bottles and other plastics, including a mop, lie washed up on the bank of the River Thames in London, Britian. VOA

The European Parliament voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to ban single-use plastic products such as straws, eating utensils and coffee sticks across the European Union.

The measure passed 571 to 53, with 34 abstentions.

If approved by the European Commission — the EU executive — and individual states, the ban would become law in 2021.

plastic waste
Plastic items washed up by the sea are seen at the Ao Phrao Beach, on the island of Ko Samet, Thailand, June 9, 2018. (VOA)

Supporters say plastics are a major source of pollution that chokes oceans, litters cities, and can take decades to disintegrate.

Some U.S. cities have moved to ban plastic straws in restaurants after a heartbreaking video of a wildlife rescuer pulling a straw out of a turtle’s bloody nose was posted on the internet earlier this year.

plastic, vietnam
A plastic bottle washed up by the sea . (VOA)

A consortium of European plastics manufacturers called the EU bill “disproportionate” and said banning single-use plastics discourages investment into new ways to recycle.

Also Read: New Carbon Capture Technology Now Able To Flight Climate Change: Experts

The EU plastics bill also includes deadlines for reducing or recycling other plastics such as bottles, fishing lines, food wrappers, and cigarette filters. (VOA)