Science Current Events | Science News | Brightsurf.com
 

Chemical exposure in the womb from household items may contribute to obesity

August 31, 2012
Pregnant women who are highly exposed to common environmental chemicals - polyfluoroalkyl compounds (PFCs) - have babies that are smaller at birth and larger at 20 months of age, according to a study from Emory University's Rollins School of Public Health published online in the August 30 edition of Environmental Health Perspectives.

PFCs are used in the production of fluoropolymers and are found widely in protective coatings of packaging products, clothes, furniture and non-stick cookware. They are persistent compounds found abundantly in the environment and human exposure is common. PFCs have been detected in human sera, breast milk and cord blood.

The study, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, included 447 British girls and their mothers in the United Kingdom participating in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, a large-scale health research project that has provided a vast amount of genetic and environmental information since it began in the early 1990s.

The researchers found that even though girls with higher exposure were smaller than average (43rd percentile) at birth, they were heavier than average (58th percentile) by 20 months of age. The authors say this path may lead to obesity at older ages.

"Previous animal and human research suggests prenatal exposures to PFCs may have harmful effects on fetal and postnatal growth," says lead researcher Michele Marcus, MPH, PhD, a professor of epidemiology in Emory's Rollins School of Public Health and the assistant program director at Kaiser Permanente's Center for Health Research.

"Our findings are consistent with these studies and emerging evidence that chemicals in our environment are contributing to obesity and diabetes and demonstrate that this trajectory is set very early in life for those exposed."

According to Marcus, a recent study in Denmark found that women exposed to PFCs in the womb were more likely to be overweight at age 20. And experimental studies with mice have shown that exposure in the womb led to higher levels of insulin and heavier body weight in adulthood.

Marcus and her colleagues focused on the three most studied PFCs: perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFS), perfluorooctanoate (PFOA) and perfluorohexane sulfonate (PFHxS).

The researchers measured maternal serum concentrations of PFOS, PFOA and PFHxS during pregnancy and obtained data on the weight and length of the girls at birth, 2, 9 and 20 months. They explored associations between prenatal PFC concentrations and weight at birth as well as changes in weight-for-age scores between birth and 20 months.

Emory University


Related Public Health Current Events and Public Health News Articles


Shift work linked to heightened risk of type 2 diabetes
Shift work is linked to a heightened risk of developing type 2 diabetes, with the risk seemingly greatest among men and those working rotating shift patterns, indicates an analysis of the available evidence published online in Occupational & Environmental Medicine.

Researchers discover new way to determine cancer risk of chemicals
A new study has shown that it is possible to predict long-term cancer risk from a chemical exposure by measuring the short-term effects of that same exposure.

CDC reports annual financial cost of COPD to be $36 billion in the United States
The American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST) announced today the Online First publication of Total and State-Specific Medical and Absenteeism Costs of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Among Adults Aged ≥18 Years in the United States for 2010 and Projections Through 2020 in the journal CHEST.

Incomplete HPV vaccination may offer some protection
Minority women who received the Human Papillomavirus Vaccination (HPV) even after becoming sexually active had lower rates of abnormal Pap test results than those who were never vaccinated. These findings appear in the journal Sexually Transmitted Diseases.

New study draws links between wildlife loss and social conflicts
Citing many sobering examples of how wildlife loss leads to conflict among people around the world, a new article co-authored by Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Health & Ecosystems: Analysis of Linkages (HEAL) Program Director Dr. Christopher Golden, calls for an interdisciplinary approach to tackle global biodiversity decline.

Experiences at every stage of life contribute to cognitive abilities in old age
Early life experiences, such as childhood socioeconomic status and literacy, may have greater influence on the risk of cognitive impairment late in life than such demographic characteristics as race and ethnicity, a large study by researchers with the UC Davis Alzheimer's Disease Center and the University of Victoria, Canada, has found.

Informed consent: False positives not a worry in lung cancer study
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recently recommended computerized tomography (CT) lung screening for people at high risk for cancer, but a potential problem with CT is that many patients will have positive results on the screening test, only to be deemed cancer-free on further testing.

Is Europe putting cancer research at risk?
The European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO), the leading pan-European association representing medical oncology professionals, has expressed concern that the proposed EU General Data Protection Regulation could make cancer research impossible and add a significant burden to both doctors and cancer patients.

Study provides new perspectives on the current Clostridium difficile epidemic
More than 80 percent of hospitalized patients who tested positive for Clostridium difficile were tested outside the hospital or within the first 72 hours of hospitalization, suggesting that settings outside of the hospital may play key roles in the identification, onset and possible transmission of the disease.

'Big picture' thinking doesn't always lead people to indulge less, study says
Buy the latest electronic gizmo du jour, or use that money to fix a leaky roof? Go out with friends, or stay home to catch-up on work to meet that looming deadline? And after you've finished that big project, do you treat yourself to a slice of chocolate cake or settle for a piece of fruit?
More Public Health Current Events and Public Health News Articles

© 2014 BrightSurf.com