Climate Health Medical

Common household chemicals linked to rising neurological disorders: Study

Merck announced its experimental trial on patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension had led to an extension in walking distance and reduced exacerbating the condition by 84%.

HQ Team

April 1, 2024: The surge in neurological and neurodevelopmental conditions over the past decade has raised concerns among medical experts, who suspect environmental factors may be contributing to this rise. A recent study highlights the damaging effects of common household chemicals on crucial brain cells, with potential links to conditions like autism, attention deficit disorders, and multiple sclerosis.

A study by researchers at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine has unveiled the harmful impact of certain chemicals commonly found in personal-care and household products on vital brain cells called oligodendrocytes. These cells are responsible for producing myelin sheaths that protect nerve cells and facilitate efficient nerve impulse transmission.

Published in Nature Neuroscience, the study examined nearly 1,900 chemicals to identify those affecting oligodendrocytes. It revealed that two groups of chemicals, organophosphate flame retardants and quaternary ammonium compounds (QACs), posed significant threats to oligodendrocyte health. Organophosphate flame retardants, prevalent in electronics and furniture, hindered oligodendrocyte generation, while QACs, present in personal-care items and disinfectants, caused cell death.

Detrimental effects of chemicals

The detrimental effects of these chemicals were further validated through experiments on developing mouse brains. Results showed that QACs, when ingested orally by mice, penetrated the blood-brain barrier and led to widespread oligodendrocyte loss, indicating potential risks during brain development.

Moreover, human cortical organoid models exposed to these chemicals mirrored similar outcomes, reinforcing concerns about their impact on human brain health.

Alarmingly, these chemicals are pervasive in daily life, with widespread use in various products.  Using datasets from the  National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) of the CDCC, analysis of urine samples from children revealed that children with the highest levels of BDCIPP (bis (1,3-dichloro-2-propy) phosphate (BDCIPP) were 2–6 times more likely to have special educational needs or motor dysfunction than those with the lowest levels.

In light of these findings, experts urge caution and advocate for reduced reliance on products containing these harmful chemicals, especially among vulnerable populations such as pregnant women and children. Alternative disinfectants and household products should be explored to minimize exposure and safeguard neurological health.

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