Nav: Home

Exposure to chemicals before and after birth is associated with a decrease in lung function

February 05, 2019

A study codirected by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), an institution supported by "la Caixa", and the French Institute for Health and Biomedical Research (INSERM), in collaboration with other European teams, concludes that early life exposure to different chemicals - parabens, phthalates and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) - is associated with reduced lung function in children. The study, published in The Lancet Planetary Health, was performed with data from more than 1,000 mother-child pairs and is one of the first to apply a comprehensive exposome approach.

We are continuously and simultaneously exposed to a wide range of environmental factors including changing climate, air pollution in urban settings and at home and chemical substances. The totality of these exposures is referred to as the exposome. To date, numerous studies have addressed the effect of environmental determinants on respiratory health, but most had focussed on single exposures or a single family of chemicals.

"This is the first study that applies an exposome approach to identify associations between pre- and childhood exposure to a range of important environmental factors and impairment of lung function, thereby representing a new paradigm in environmental health research", explains Martine Vrijheid, ISGlobal researcher and co-coordinator of the study.

The new study, performed under the European HELIX project, analysed data from 1,033 mother-child pairs from six European countries: Spain, France, Greece, England, Lithuania and Norway. The researchers measured 85 exposures during pregnancy and 125 during childhood, relating to outdoor, indoor, chemical and lifestyle factors. Lung function was measured by spirometry in children at 6 and 12 years of age.

The results show that prenatal exposure to two types of perfluoroalkyl substances, aka PFAS, - PFOA and PNFA- was associated with a decrease lung function. PFAS are used as stain and water repellents and are found in many household products and food packages. They can be absorbed by the organism, through food or water for example, and then be passed to the unborn baby through the placenta.

Regarding exposures during childhood, the study identified nine exposures associated with impaired lung function. Five phthalate metabolites including DEHP and DINP -- which are used as plasticizer and can be ingested, inhaled or absorbed through the skin - showed the strongest association. An association was also found with ethyl-paraben, a phenol compound used in cosmetics, and with copper, which in the general population is ingested mainly through drinking water and diet. Finally, house crowding and high density of facilities around school were also associated with lower lung function.

"These findings have important implications for public health", concludes Martine Vrijheid. "Preventive measures to reduce exposure to the chemical substances identified, including a stricter regulation and the labelling of consumer products to better inform the public, could help prevent lung function impairment in childhood and benefit health in the long-term", she adds.
-end-


Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal)

Related Public Health Articles:

The Lancet Public Health: US modelling study estimates impact of school closures for COVID-19 on US health-care workforce and associated mortality
US policymakers considering physical distancing measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 face a difficult trade-off between closing schools to reduce transmission and new cases, and potential health-care worker absenteeism due to additional childcare needs that could ultimately increase mortality from COVID-19, according to new modelling research published in The Lancet Public Health journal.
The Lancet Public Health: Access to identification documents reflecting gender identity may improve trans mental health
Results from a survey of over 20,000 American trans adults suggest that having access to identification documents which reflect their identified gender helps to improve their mental health and may reduce suicidal thoughts, according to a study published in The Lancet Public Health journal.
The Lancet Public Health: Study estimates mental health impact of welfare reform, Universal Credit, in Great Britain
The 2013 Universal Credit welfare reform appears to have led to an increase in the prevalence of psychological distress among unemployed recipients, according to a nationally representative study following more than 52,000 working-age individuals from England, Wales, and Scotland over nine years between 2009-2018, published as part of an issue of The Lancet Public Health journal on income and health.
BU researchers: Pornography is not a 'public health crisis'
Researchers from the Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) have written an editorial in the American Journal of Public Health special February issue arguing against the claim that pornography is a public health crisis, and explaining why such a claim actually endangers the health of the public.
The Lancet Public Health: Ageism linked to poorer health in older people in England
Ageism may be linked with poorer health in older people in England, according to an observational study of over 7,500 people aged over 50 published in The Lancet Public Health journal.
Study: Public transportation use linked to better public health
Promoting robust public transportation systems may come with a bonus for public health -- lower obesity rates.
Bloomberg American Health Initiative releases special public health reports supplement
With US life expectancy now on the decline for two consecutive years, the Bloomberg American Health Initiative is releasing a supplement to Public Health Reports, the scholarly journal of the US Surgeon General.
Data does the heavy lifting: Encouraging new public health approaches to promote the health benefits of muscle-strengthening exercise (MSE)
According to a new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, almost 75 percent of US adults do not comply with public health guidelines recommending two or more muscle-strengthening exercise (MSE) sessions a week, with nearly 60 percent of the population doing no MSE at all.
The Lancet Public Health: Moderate carbohydrate intake may be best for health
Low-carb diets that replace carbohydrates with proteins and fats from plant sources associated with lower risk of mortality compared to those that replace carbohydrates with proteins and fat from animal sources.
Mass. public safety, public health agencies collaborate to address the opioid epidemic
A new study shows that public health and public safety agencies established local, collaborative programs in Massachusetts to connect overdose survivors and their personal networks with addiction treatment, harm reduction, and other community support services following a non-fatal overdose.
More Public Health News and Public Health Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Climate Mindset
In the past few months, human beings have come together to fight a global threat. This hour, TED speakers explore how our response can be the catalyst to fight another global crisis: climate change. Guests include political strategist Tom Rivett-Carnac, diplomat Christiana Figueres, climate justice activist Xiye Bastida, and writer, illustrator, and artist Oliver Jeffers.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#562 Superbug to Bedside
By now we're all good and scared about antibiotic resistance, one of the many things coming to get us all. But there's good news, sort of. News antibiotics are coming out! How do they get tested? What does that kind of a trial look like and how does it happen? Host Bethany Brookeshire talks with Matt McCarthy, author of "Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic", about the ins and outs of testing a new antibiotic in the hospital.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Speedy Beet
There are few musical moments more well-worn than the first four notes of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. But in this short, we find out that Beethoven might have made a last-ditch effort to keep his music from ever feeling familiar, to keep pushing his listeners to a kind of psychological limit. Big thanks to our Brooklyn Philharmonic musicians: Deborah Buck and Suzy Perelman on violin, Arash Amini on cello, and Ah Ling Neu on viola. And check out The First Four Notes, Matthew Guerrieri's book on Beethoven's Fifth. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.