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

The Boston Marathon: Step by step, the race…

For over a century, the Boston Marathon has been an event centered around sportsmanship, endurance and athleticism.

Local

Hillary Clinton headed to Boston for women's leadership…

Former U.S. Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is set to visit Massachusetts Wednesday amid continuing speculation about making another bid for the presidency in 2016.

Local

Boston Marathon: Marathoners ready to run, honor victims

Scores of runners will cross the Boston Marathon starting line in Hopkinton Monday and embark on a 26.2-mile journey to Boston in honor of the victims.

Local

MIT student, Rhodes scholar, dies

Eliana Hechter, a student at MIT and Harvard, died, her family said. The announcement was posted on MIT's website.

Television

Discovery cancels 'Everest Jump Live' special in wake…

The Discovery Channel has indicated it will not be moving forward with "Everest Jump Live," a planned special about mountain climber Joby Ogwyn's effort to…

The Word

'X-Men' director Bryan Singer drama continues

  News broke late last week that "X-Men" and "The Usual Suspects" director Bryan Singer is being sued by a man who said Singer molested…

The Word

Miley Cyrus cancels more dates, tweeting from hospital

Miley Cyrus is reportedly so sick that she's had to postpone more tour dates. We know this because she has been sitting in a hospital…

Music

Loop are, er, um, back in the loop

Experimental noise rock band Loop's three mid-1980s to early-1990s albums, “Heavens End,” “Fade Out” and “A Gilded Eternity,” were mercifully reissued.

NHL

NHL video highlights: Bruins smack down Red Wings…

NHL video highlights: Bruins smack down Red Wings in Game 2

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox defeat Orioles, 4-2

Brock Holt the difference in the Red Sox' win

NHL

NHL video highlights & analysis: Red Wings dump…

NHL video highlights & analysis: Red Wings dump Bruins in Game 1

MLB

MLB video highlights: Orioles top Red Sox, 8-4…

John Lackey roughed up for second straight outing

Travel

Packing: The one thing you need in your…

A new survey that looks at the travel habits of 50,000 people around the world has revealed that Western and Asian globetrotters have different priorities…

Home

Is your chair making it hard to talk?

Ever wished there was an office chair that could make impromptu meetings and discussions more private? The Cristiana Wing Chair is an asymmetrical armchair which…

Travel

Live large at these luxury hotels

From Thai boxing lessons and macabre Dracula tours to the Australian Outback, the Four Seasons hotel chain launched a series of new travel packages this…

Parenting

4 things that every summer camp should have

Alan Saltz, director of the 92nd street Y program lists things that every summer camp should have.