Exposure to flame retardant chemicals or PBDEs during pregnancy can affect children’s neurodevelopment. Environmental health scientist Tracey Woodruff of the University of California, San Francisco, found ten-fold increases in a mother's PBDE levels could lead to a drop of 3.7 IQ points in her child. While that may sound like a small number…

"If you look at it over a population, it becomes very significant, because you have everybody exposed to PBDEs at a smaller risk. The small risk over a large population means that you can have a relatively large number of people who can have some type of effect."

If this happens, the population level IQ could get shifted. This means there will be more people with an IQ score of about 70, which is considered a mentally-impaired category.

“It can also decrease the number of people who are in the mentally-gifted categories."

PBDEs can be found in many household items from furniture to toys to electronics. So, Woodruff says buying flame retardant-free products could make a big difference in your children’s health.

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