Prenatal exposure to organic solvents and child neurobehavioral performance

Christine Till, Gideon Koren, Joanne F. Rovet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


The present study compared the cognitive and behavioral functioning of 3- to 7-year-old children (n=33) whose mothers worked with organic solvents during pregnancy with a group of unexposed children (n=28) matched on age, gender, parental socioeconomic status (SES), and ethnicity. Participants were recruited prospectively by the Motherisk Program, an antenatal counseling service in Canada. An exposure index was estimated using questionnaire data obtained at the time of initial contact. Groups were compared on a variety of tasks, including subtests from the NEPSY, a visual CPT, as well as on parent-rated measures of children's behavior. Regression analyses indicated lower composite scores in children with increased exposure on Receptive language (P<.01), Expressive language (P<.01), and Graphomotor ability (P=.001), adjusted for demographics. No group differences were observed on measures of Attention (P=.97), Visuo-spatial ability (P=.33), and Fine-motor ability (P=.33). On the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL), overall mean differences on broad- and narrow-band scales were not significant, but significantly more exposed children were rated as having mild or severe problem behaviors. The findings suggest that maternal occupational exposure to organic solvents during pregnancy is associated with poorer outcome in selective aspects of cognitive and neuromotor functioning in offspring.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-245
Number of pages11
JournalNeurotoxicology and Teratology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Children
  • Cognitive abilities
  • Graphomotor skills
  • Language
  • Organic solvents
  • Prenatal exposure


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