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Your Baby

BPA Consumed During Pregnancy Linked to Obesity in Kids

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Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical produced in large quantities and used primarily in polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins.

You’ll find polycarbonate plastics in some plastic water bottles, food storage containers and plastic tableware. Epoxy resins are used in lacquers to coat metal products such as food cans, bottle tops, and water supply pipes.

The primary source of exposure to BPA for many people is through food and beverages.

Why should you be concerned about Bisphenol A?

BPA is thought to act as an endocrine disruptor--a compound that mimics or disrupts hormones produced by the human body. Previous research has linked BPA to asthma, ADHD, depression, anxiety and early puberty in girls. It has also been linked to diabetes, obesity and heart disease in adults.

A new study has also found a possible link between BPA and child obesity.

Researchers at Columbia University found that children of women exposed to BPA during pregnancy were likely to have more body fat by age seven. Increased body fat has been linked to a higher risk of obesity.

"This study provides evidence that prenatal exposure to BPA may contribute to developmental origins of obesity as determined by measures of body fat in children as opposed to the traditional indicator of body mass index, which only considers height and weight,” lead author of the study. Lori Hoepner, DrPH, said in a press release.

Dr. Hoepner and her colleagues studied 369 maternal-child pairs from pregnancy through early childhood.

The researchers collected urine samples during the last three months of pregnancy.

Urine samples were also collected from the children at ages three and five. The children's heights and weights were measured at age five and age seven.

At age seven the researchers also measured waist circumference and fat mass.

The researchers found 94 percent of the women had BPA in their urine--an indication that they had been exposed to the chemical.

Dr. Hoepner and colleagues found that children who had been exposed to BPA in the womb had a higher body fat mass. Even though the children might have been within the normal ranges for height and weight, they had a greater percentage of fat than would be normal at that age.

The researchers found a strong association between BPA, fat mass and waist circumference in girls. They also found that childhood exposure to BPA was not associated with fat mass, indicating that the prenatal exposure was the problem.

Some studies indicate that infants and children may be the most vulnerable to the effects of BPA. This new study also suggests that pregnant women might want to avoid BPA products.

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences offers these tips for reducing BPA exposure:

•       Don’t microwave polycarbonate plastic food containers. Polycarbonate is strong and durable, but over time it may break down from over use at high temperatures. Use glass or ceramics for microwaving foods.

•       Plastic containers have recycle codes on the bottom. Some, but not all, plastics that are marked with recycle codes 3 or 7 may be made with BPA.

•       Reduce your use of canned foods. Choose glass or other safe packaging or fresh or frozen foods when possible.

•       Opt for glass, porcelain or stainless steel containers, particularly for hot food or liquids.

•       Use baby bottles that are BPA free. 

The study was published in the May issue of Environmental Health Perspectives.

Story sources: Beth Greenwood, http://www.dailyrxnews.com/prenatal-exposure-bpa-was-associated-increased-fat-mass-children-columbia-university-study-found

http://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/agents/sya-bpa/

 

Your Toddler

Toddlers at High Risk for Chemical Eye Burns

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You might think that most chemical eye burns occur at work places, but according to a new study, more toddlers than adults are treated at emergency rooms.

"Household cleaners are a huge culprit," said Dr. R. Sterling Haring, who led the study. Spray bottles frequently have been implicated in other research, he said.

"The rates among 1-year-olds are 1.5 times higher than the highest rate of [eye] injury for working-age adults," said Haring, a doctoral candidate at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore.

Researchers analyzed data from 900 hospitals and found more than 144,000 ER visits related to chemical eye burns across all age groups.

When the researchers broke the data down by year of life, 24-year-olds had the highest rate among adults. Among children, 1- and 2-year-olds were injured most often, with this age group 1.5 times more likely to get an eye burn than a 24-year-old, the findings showed.

"We see chemical eye injuries in the little kids all the time," said Dr. Roberto Warman, a pediatric ophthalmologist at Nicklaus Children's Hospital in Miami, who wasn't involved in the study.

"It's always the same story. They got access to the cleaners in the house. These are some extremely serious injuries," Warman said.

The investigators discovered that when the chemical agent that caused the burn was known, alkaline injuries were more common than acid injuries. Alkaline agents are found in oven cleaners, drain cleaners, chlorine bleach and ammonia products, according to background notes in the study.

Alkaline chemicals can continue to burn into the eye even after contact with the compound, Haring explained. Damage can be blinding, he said.

Workplaces often have precautions set up to avoid eye accidents while home products are not always locked or secured in a place a child can’t reach. Warman and Haring agreed that parents and industry could do a better job protecting young children.

The toddlers' injuries occur at home most often and are more common among lower-income families. They also are more common in the South, according to the analysis of 2010-2013 data from the Nationwide Emergency Department Sample.

Haring's advice: Never keep household chemicals under the sink. "It's a terrible idea, even with a lock," he said.

Instead, store all cleaning supplies and other potentially harmful products "in a lockable cabinet out of reach," he said. Supervise their use if, for instance, older children are using them. Also, be sure to turn the spray bottle nozzles to the "off" position before storing them, Haring advised.

In addition, Warman said, "The industry can also help us more. They can make caps in a way that they are harder and harder to open."

Even with precautions, however, chemicals might sometimes get into the eye. If that happens, run tap water over the eye for a while, Haring said. Emergency room doctors usually rinse the child's eye with saline for 20 minutes or more, often after applying antiseptic eye drops to reduce the pain, according to information from Boston Children's Hospital.

The study was published online Aug. 4 in JAMA Ophthalmology.

Story Source:  Kathleen Doheny, https://consumer.healthday.com/eye-care-information-13/eye-and-vision-problem-news-295/toddlers-at-high-risk-of-chemical-eye-burns-study-713568.html

 

Your Child

Common Chemicals Linked to Lower IQ in Kids

 Phthalates are chemicals used in thousands of every day products. They make plastics more flexible and difficult to break. They are also used in personal-care products such  as soaps, shampoos, hairsprays and nail polishers. There are several different types of phthalates.

 A new study suggests that two phthalate chemicals in particular, may be damaging to fetal development and could even lower children's IQs.

 The chemicals, Di-n-butyl phthalate (DnBP) and di-isobutyl phthalate (DiBP), are found in a wide range of products including vinyl upholstery, shower curtains, plastic food  containers, raincoats, dryer sheets, lipstick, hairspray, nail polish, certain soaps and chemical air fresheners. They can be absorbed into a person's body, and exposure in- utero was linked in the study to lower IQs later in a child's life.

 Researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health in New York City headed the study.

 Three hundred and twenty eight New York City low-income women and their children participated in the study. The researchers followed the expectant mothers to assess  the impact of exposure to four phthalates in the third trimester of pregnancy: DnBP and DiBP, as well as 2 other phthalates. The chemical amounts were measured in each woman's urine, and the children took IQ tests at age 7.

 After controlling for factors such as the mother's IQ, education level and family home environment, the researchers found the children of mothers with the highest concentrations of DnBP and DiBP in their systems had IQ levels of 6.6 and 7.6 points lower than children in the lowest exposure group.

 The two other phthalates did not appear to have an impact on the children's intellectual development.

 "Because phthalate exposures are ubiquitous and concentrations seen here within the range previously observed among general populations, results are of public health significance," the researchers write in their study.

 The authors point out that the mothers with a higher volume of chemicals in their system were still within the national average of a larger sample measured by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which indicates Americans are being exposed to too high a dose of these common chemicals.

 Six phthalates have been banned in children’s products since 2009, but health officials have yet take to take steps to alert pregnant women of the risk that comes with using certain products that contain phthalates. Moreover, companies are not required to label the use of phthalates in products.

 Because so many products contain phthalates, it’s almost impossible to eliminate the chemicals entirely from your system.

 The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classifies phthalates as endocrine disruptors, meaning they interfere with a person's hormone system. They have been associated with a number of physical developmental abnormalities such as cleft palate and skeletal malformations.

 Other studies have linked increased fetal deaths and preterm births in animals to phthalate exposure. They’ve also associated the chemicals to health problems in teens such as insulin resistance.

 The researchers recommend pregnant women take a number of measures to at least minimize risks. They suggest avoiding products with recyclable plastic that's labeled with the numbers 3, 6 or 7.

 The Environmental Working Group also recommends against using cleaning and cosmetic products that include "fragrance" on the list of ingredients, since that indicates the product may contain some hidden phthalates. Many companies are now labeling which of their products are “phthalate free.”

 The study was published in the journal PLOS One.

 Source: Jessica Firger, http://www.cbsnews.com/news/prenatal-exposure-to-common-chemicals-linked-to-lower-iq-in-children/

 http://www.cdc.gov/biomonitoring/phthalates_factsheet.html

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