Emerging exposures of developmental toxicants

Curr Opin Pediatr. 2017 Apr;29(2):218-224. doi: 10.1097/MOP.0000000000000455.


Purpose of review: The purpose of this review is to identify emerging developmental toxicants that are understudied in children's health. Exposures may arise from new products designed to improve utility, to reduce toxicity, or to replace undesirable chemicals. Exposures to less-toxic chemicals may also be significant if they are very commonly used, thereby generating widespread exposure. Sources of exposure include the workplace, personal, home, and office products; food, water, and air.

Recent findings: We describe eight exposure categories that contain numerous potential developmental toxicants. References are discussed if reported in PubMed during the past decade at least 10 times more frequently than in 1990-2000. Examples included phthalates, phenols, sunscreens, pesticides, halogenated flame retardants, perfluoroalkyl coatings, nanoparticles, e-cigarettes, and dietary polyphenols. Replacements are often close structural homologs of their precursors. We suggest biomonitoring as preferred means of exposure assessment to emerging chemicals. Some existing analytic methods would require minimal modification to measure these exposures, but others require toxicokinetic and analytic investigation.

Summary: A deliberate strategy for biomonitoring of emerging replacement chemicals is warranted, especially in view of concerns regarding developmental toxicity. To prevent adverse health effects, it is important to characterize such exposures before they become widely disseminated.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems / statistics & numerical data
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Environmental Exposure / prevention & control*
  • Environmental Exposure / statistics & numerical data
  • Environmental Health*
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods*
  • Environmental Pollutants / adverse effects
  • Environmental Pollutants / chemistry
  • Environmental Pollutants / toxicity*
  • Female
  • Flame Retardants / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Particle Size
  • Pesticides / adverse effects
  • Phthalic Acids / adverse effects
  • Risk Assessment
  • United States


  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Flame Retardants
  • Pesticides
  • Phthalic Acids
  • phthalic acid