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Research on PFAS in Ronneby - Increased risk of language disorder in girls

According to Carmela Miniscalco's research on PFAS in Ronneby, there is an increased risk of language disorders in girls.

[Published 1 August 2023 by Carmela Miniscalco]

Fetal exposure to PFASs is suspected to negatively affect brain development, but existing research is scattered and studies from highly exposed groups are lacking. Language ability is a good marker of brain development.

For a long time, all children's health and cognitive development has been examined during routine check-ups at the Children's Health Centre (CHC). If a language disorder is suspected, children are referred to a speech and language pathologist (SLP) for further assessment.

The study includes all children born in Blekinge, Sweden between 1998 and 2013. Based on the mother's residential address five years before the birth, we could find out which children were exposed to high PFAS levels. We retrieved information on referrals from CHC to an SLP and on diagnoses made by a SLP from Region Blekinge's healthcare register. The calculations took into account the mother's age, level of education and smoking as well as the child's gender and sibling order, factors that are of great importance for children's language development.

The study shows that highly exposed children have an increased risk of being referred from the CHC to an SLP. Highly exposed girls have a significantly increased risk of being diagnosed with a language disorder, but we saw no such risk increase in boys.

There are future plans to investigate whether there is also an increased risk of neuropsychiatric disability (ADHD and autism).

The research is conducted in collaboration with Occupational and Environmental Medicine at the University of Gothenburg and Lund University.

Scientific article can be viewed here Developmental language disorders in preschool children after high exposure to perfluoroalkyl substances from contaminated drinking water in Ronneby, Sweden

Ronneby PFAS Research Program     

[This is a blog. The purpose of the blog is to provide information and raise awareness concerning important issues. All views and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not necessarily shared by the GNC.] 

Carmela Miniscalco
Carmela Miniscalco
Photo: Josefin Bergenholtz