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

Mayor announces public housing improvements

Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke at the Lincoln Houses in East Harlem on Wednesday, calling for the scaffolding to come down at NYCHA complexes across…

National

Peter Theo Curtis: American released by Syrian militants…

An American writer freed this week from two years in the captivity of insurgents in Syria spoke briefly outside his family's Cambridge home Wednesday of…

Local

Bratton defends 'broken windows' work as NYPD support…

Sixty percent of those polled said they support the "broken windows" theory approach popularized by Commissioner Bratton since his first term in the 1990s.

Local

Transit changes for Labor Day weekend

The MTA is adding additional service Friday for New Yorkers getting out of the city for the long weekend. On Friday, Aug. 29, 27 additional…

Television

'So You Think You Can Dance' recap: Season…

Season 11’s top four dancers gave their final performances before America’s Favorite Dancers are announced next week.

Going Out

Things to do this week in NYC, Aug.…

MUSIC The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees…

Going Out

5 things to do this weekend in NYC

The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees expected. David Guetta,…

Television

'Full House' might be relaunched with some of…

A new "Full House" might be in the works.

NFL

Mario Manningham on the bubble as Giants play…

Former Super Bowl hero Mario Manningham hopes his second go-around with Big Blue doesn’t end with Saturday’s final cut day.

NFL

Source: Stephen Hill 'faces a battle' to make…

A team source says Stephen Hill, who has battled injuries and poor performances during his first two years, is no lock to make the Jets’ final roster.

Sports

Serena Williams leaving legacy of talented American women…

It seems only a matter of when, not if, Serena Williams will win her 18th career grand slam championship.

College

When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…

Sex

The 10 types of people you meet online

Does it ever seem like online dating profiles tend to get a little repetitive? It turns out you are not the only one to have…

Home

Labor Day essentials

Whether you’re soaking up the sun on the beach or barbecuing in the park here are some must-haves for your end-of-summer bash.