On March 4, 2015 the peer-reviewed journal NeuroToxicology published a review study focusing on neurotoxic potential of phthalates, including a common food contact substance diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP, CAS 117-81-7). Infants and young children may be particularly vulnerable to adverse effects produced by phthalate exposures, as their developing brain is highly susceptible to environmental insults, explain the authors Holahan and Smith from Carleton University, Canada. Therefore, they reviewed literature published about the effects of phthalate exposure on brain structure and function during different developmental stages. The authors give a special attention to an area of the brain called hippocampus, which plays an important role in memory forming, organizing, and storing. Based on the compiled literature, widespread disruptions in hippocampal functional and structural plasticity occur following developmental (pre-, peri- and post-natal) exposure to phthalates. The authors conclude that more studies dealing with the neurobehavioral consequences of phthalate exposure during development are needed. The findings of these studies could help develop and implement public policies that will change the way in which these chemicals are used thus ultimately improving public health.

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Holahan, M.R. and Smith, C.A. (2015). “Phthalates and neurotoxic effects on hippocampal network plasticity.NeuroToxicology (published online March 4, 2015).