Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Exposure to Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals during Pregnancy and Weight at 7 Years of Age: A Multi-Pollutant Approach

Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Exposure to Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals during Pregnancy and Weight at 7 Years of Age: A Multi-Pollutant Approach

Article excerpt

Introduction

Childhood obesity has increased rapidly since the mid-1980s [World Health Organization/ United Nations Environment Programme (WHO/UNEP) 2013]. Greater body mass index (BMI) in childhood is associated with future risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease, certain cancers and a range of other diseases (Baker et al. 2007; Han et al. 2010). There is emerging interest in the possibility that exposure to certain xenobiotic chemicals may be obesogenic (Grun and Blumberg 2009; Holtcamp 2012; La Merrill and Birnbaum 2011) and may change growth patterns and induce weight gain, obesity, and ultimately insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes (La Merrill et al. 2013). It has been suggested that potential effects of obesogens may be strongest when exposure occurs during pregnancy (Huang et al. 2007).

Thus far, the most consistent evidence of obesogenic effects in humans has been reported for gestational tobacco exposure (Oken et al. 2008; Thayer et al. 2012). Over the last two decades, a number of longitudinal epidemiological studies have studied the potential obesogenic effects of prenatal exposures to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), and recent literature reviews have summarized these studies (La Merrill and Birnbaum 2011; Lee et al. 2014; Tang-Peronard et al. 2011; Wang et al. 2014; WHO/UNEP 2013). Most epidemiological studies have evaluated potential effects of single persistent organic pollutants, and most have focused on organochlorine compounds, with the most consistent evidence for obesogenic effects thus far reported for dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE) (Delvaux et al. 2014; La Merrill and Birnbaum 2011; Lee et al. 2014; Valvi et al. 2014; Warner et al. 2013). Only a few studies have evaluated potential obesogenic effects of prenatal exposure to other groups of EDCs, including bisphenol A (BPA), phthalates, and heavy metals (Delvaux 2014; Gardner et al. 2013; Harley et al. 2013; Tian et al. 2009; Valvi et al. 2013). Recent international expert workshops (e.g., by the U.S. National Toxicology Program) have called for further epidemiological research to establish whether the obesogenic effects seen in animals are supported by evidence in humans (Thayer et al. 2012).

Until now, epidemiological studies on obesogenic effects of in utero exposure to EDCs have assessed the risks of single-pollutant exposures. Most human populations are exposed to mixtures of EDCs rather than to a single pollutant, and isolating the potential effects of one EDC exposure from another is difficult when exposures are correlated due to common sources (Sun et al. 2013). Only a few studies have evaluated the health effects of mixtures of EDCs (Braun et al. 2014; Grandjean et al. 2012; Lee et al. 2007, 2010; Lenters et al. 2015; Patel et al. 2010) and none have addressed obesogenic effects. With an increasing number of chemicals now proposed as suspected obesogens, there is a need to identify those most relevant for human obesity risk.

The aim of the current study is to use data on multiple chemical exposures measured in the INMA ("Infancia y Medio Ambiente"--Environment and Childhood) study to evaluate the associations between biomarker concentration of 27 EDCs and child weight status at age 7 years.

Methods

Study population. Data from the Environment and Childhood Project (INMA) in Sabadell (Catalonia, Spain) were used. The study protocol has been described elsewhere (Guxens et al. 2012). Briefly, 657 women were enrolled during 2004-2006, in the first trimester of pregnancy during their first ultrasound visit at the public health center. Women were eligible for participation if they were > 16 years of age, had no communication problems, a singleton pregnancy, and no assisted conception. Questionnaires were administered by trained interviewers during the first (around week 12) and third trimester (around week 32), at delivery, and at 14 months, 4 years, and 7 years after birth to assess maternal and child health status, sociodemographic characteristics, maternal reproductive history, and other characteristics. …

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