March 2014 Science Digest #1: Recent Epidemiological Research

March 10, 2014 at 7:50 pm | Posted in News and Science Bulletins | Leave a comment
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PFCs, Allergy | Prenatal exposure to perfluoroalkyl acids and allergic diseases in early childhood. Study suggesting that reducing prenatal exposure to the long-chain PFC PFTrDA may decrease the risk of early childhood eczema in girls.

Pesticides, Thyroid Function | The association between prenatal exposure to organochlorine pesticides and thyroid hormone levels in newborns in Yancheng, China. After adjusting for confounders, the TSH level in cord serum samples was negatively associated with HCB levels (OR=0.535, 95% CI=(0.304-0.941)). The correlation analysis suggested that organochlorine pesticides in maternal blood can transfer through the placenta and affect newborn thyroid hormone levels.

PFCs, Menopause | Polyfluoroalkyl Chemicals and Menopause among Women 20–65 Years of Age (NHANES). Findings suggest a positive association between PFCs and menopause; however, at least part of the association may be due to reverse causation (PFCs were positively associated with rate of hysterectomy, and time since natural menopause was positively associated with serum PFCs). Regardless of underlying cause, women appear to have higher PFC concentrations after menopause.

POPs & Heavy Metals, NeurodevelopmentDomain-Specific Effects of Prenatal Exposure to PCBs, Mercury, and Lead on Infant Cognition: Results from the Environmental Contaminants and Child Development Study in Nunavik. According to this study babies in Arctic Canada are at risk of specific effects on their mental abilities, depending on which contaminants they are exposed to in the womb. Lead, methylmercury and polychlorinated biphenyls are linked to different neurological effects: for example, PCBs seemed to impair the babies’ ability to recognize things they have seen.

VOCs, Exposure | Infant Exposure to Emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds from Crib Mattresses. These results suggest that crib mattresses are an important source of VOCs and infant exposure to VOCs are possibly elevated in their sleep microenvironments. (Synopsis here.)

PFCs, Obesity | Adiposity and Glycemic Control in Children Exposed to Perfluorinated Compounds. Study finding that overweight children who are exposed to higher levels of perfluorinated chemicals tend to show early signs of developing the metabolic syndrome, being more likely to have higher levels of insulin and triglycerides. There was no relationship between PFC exposure and metabolic markers in normal-weight children.

Pesticides (?), Semen Quality | Semen quality trends in French regions are consistent with a global change in environmental exposure. A decrease in sperm concentration and morphology, already shown at the scale of the French metropolitan territory, was observed in most French regions. The strongest decreases and lowest values are consistently observed in 2 proximate regions both highly agricultural and densely populated, suggesting an explanatory role for chemical exposure in the decrease.

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