Prenatal exposure to household pollutants could lead to obese baby
LONDON, Sept 2 — Prenatal exposure to common household items like non-stick cookware, raincoats, and furniture has been found to result in smaller babies at birth, and heavier babies at 20 months, a finding that could lead to obesity in later stages of life, says a team of British researchers.
The culprit is a group of common environmental chemicals called polyfluoroalkyl compounds (PFCs), compounds which are widely found in the protective coatings of packaging products, clothes, textiles, furniture, carpet, non-stick cookware, household cleaners and cosmetics.
Published out of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the study looked at 447 British girls and the mothers. What researchers found was that high exposure to these environmental chemicals resulted in smaller than average babies at birth — 43rd per centile — but heavier children at 20 months, 58th per centile — a development that could pave the way to obesity, scientists say.
For the study, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives August 30, researchers measured the maternal serum concentrations of PFCs and explored the associations between prenatal PFC concentrations with the children’s birth weight and follow-up weight at 20 months.
Meanwhile, earlier this year, a group of US scientists found that office spaces are potentially more toxic than household air, after measuring the level of PFCs in workers’ bloodstream. Exposure to toxic substances released in the off-gassing of carpeting, furniture and paint, for instance, resulted in PFC concentrations that were 3 to 5 times higher than those reported in household air.
For a safer and healthier home environment, meanwhile, WebMD.com offers a few tips that include eliminating Teflon-coated products and getting the home tested. — AFP/Relaxnews