Non-stick chemicals not tied to childhood growth

Credit: Metro File Photo.
Credit: Metro File Photo.

Babies’ early exposure to chemicals used in non-stick and stain-resistant products was not linked to small body size at age seven in a new study from Denmark looking at the chemicals’ effects on growth.

Previous research has tied prenatal exposure to elevated levels of perfluorinated chemicals, such as perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoate (PFOA), to both lower birth weights in boys and greater risk of obesity in young adulthood among both men and women.

Although the latest study did not find any effects on growth during childhood, Julie Herbstman, an assistant professor at Columbia Mailman School of Public Health who was not involved in the study, said, “I don’t think it’s definitive about the effects of prenatal exposure to perfluorinated compounds.”

Perfluorinated chemicals have been widely used in consumer products, from stain-resistant carpet to non-stick cookware and food packaging.

Companies in the U.S. have begun to phase out use of perfluorinated chemicals in response to health concerns, but the chemicals persist in the body and in the environment, taking years to break down.

To see whether exposure to these chemicals influences growth after birth, Camilla Schou Andersen at Bispebjerg and Frederiksberg University Hospital in Denmark and her colleagues tracked more than 800 children from the womb to seven years of age.

The researchers collected blood from mothers while they were pregnant and from the umbilical cord blood when the babies were born to determine the levels of perfluorinated chemicals the children were exposed to in utero.

Then, seven years later, the research group measured the children’s waists and overall body size.

The concentrations of perfluorinated chemicals the kids were exposed to before birth had no bearing on children’s growth later on, the researchers report in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

“Prenatal exposure to perfluoroalkyl acids may reduce the infancy weight and body mass index in boys, but the present results suggest that a growth deficit may be recovered between infancy and childhood,” they write.

Eight of the largest manufacturers of PFOA in the U.S. have agreed to eliminate products containing PFOA and emissions of the chemical by 2015.

The main producer of PFOS, 3M, eliminated the chemical from its products in 2002.

The Danish researchers note in their report that it’s possible perfluorinated chemicals have a greater effect during development than later in childhood. And that low-birthweight is itself associated with adult obesity risk, which could explain the link to later-life obesity seen in other studies.

Herbstman said the study was well conducted, but that it needs to be repeated in other populations to be able to say for sure that perfluorinated chemicals don’t affect children’s growth.

It’s also possible that the chemicals could affect children later in life, during puberty, because perfluorinated compounds are known to interfere with hormones and puberty is a time of significant hormonal changes, she added.

Moreover, body size later in life is not the only concern regarding the consequences of low birth weight, Herbstman pointed out.

“You worry about kids having cognitive problems, cardiovascular problems. Just because you’re not seeing an association with (body size) at age seven, this doesn’t reassure me these compounds are safe,” she said.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

De Blasio, Bratton defend city's efforts after Eric…

Mayor Bill de Blasio justified the city's response to the death of Eric Garner, a Staten Island man who died while in police custody earlier this month.

Local

NYPD: Suspect dead after two U.S. Marshals, cop…

A suspected sex offender died after a shooting at a West Village smoke shop that wounded two U.S. Marshals and an NYPD detective on Monday, officials said.

National

PHOTO: New Zealand Heral uses wrong image to…

The New Zealand Herald made a terrible mistake of using the wrong image to illustrate the tragic death of Staff Sergeant Guy Boyland – a New Zealand-born Israeli soldier who…

Local

Katz's Deli wins name battle with Florida cafe

The New York City delicatessen Katz's has won a legal battle to force a Florida restaurant to change its name, according to court documents made public on Monday.

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

Entertainment

'Kim Kardashian: Hollywood' game easter eggs and cheats

"Kim Kardashian: Hollywood" is the hottest game of the moment. Here are its best easter eggs as well as some tips and tricks to speed your way to the top.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

MLB

Joe Torre: I'm in Hall of Fame because…

Joe Torre spent 18 years putting together a near Hall of Fame career as a player. But it was the 12 years he spent as…

MLB

Yankees GM Brian Cashman breaks down art of…

The action frequently accelerates as the non-waiver trade deadline approaches, as it will on Thursday.

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.

Food

Zagat releases '30 Under 30' list

Zagat releases a list of the people changing the food and drink industry across the country.

Wellbeing

Fist bump gets respect as clean alternative to…

Though long used to give props, the fist bump is getting some actual respect. The gesture, once dubbed a “terrorist fist jab,” could become the new…