Prenatal exposure to dioxins and subsequent neurocognitive and developmental function in Hong Kong Chinese children
LL Hui1,2, HS Lam2, EYY Lau3, EAS Nelson2, TW Wong4, R Fielding1
1 School of Public Health, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong
2 Department of Paediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
3 Department of Psychology, The University of Hong Kong
4 School of Public Health and Primary Care, Faculty of Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
1. There was no significant difference in the neurocognitive functions in terms of full-scale IQ, fine motor coordination, verbal and non-verbal reasoning, memory, learning, and attention in 11-year-old children by levels of prenatal dioxin exposure proxied by maternal dioxin body load soon after delivery.
2. There was no detectable deficit in neurocognitive function in older children even at the high-end of prenatal exposure to background dioxins.
3. Nonetheless, it is recognised that growing foetuses are vulnerable to the harmful effects of environmental pollutants. Continued efforts should be directed towards identifying and controlling environmental sources of these substances in Hong Kong and Mainland China.