Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Children could be more exposed to chemicals than their mothers

Almost all U.S. citizens have the chemical PFOA in
their blood, research suggests. It's a long-lasting
environmental pollutant.
A new study measured the levels of an industrial chemical in the blood of children under 5 and their mothers, who live near the DuPont plant in West Virginia.

The researchers found that the children, who were exposed to the chemical from drinking water as well as their mom’s breast milk, had 44 percent  more of the chemical in their blood compared to the mothers.

The industrial chemical is perfluorooctanoate (PFOA, or C8).

What is C8?

PFOA, or C8, persists indefinitely in the environment. It is a toxicant and carcinogen in animals.

PFOA has been detected in the blood of more than 98% of the general US population in the low and sub-parts per billion range, and levels are higher in chemical plant employees and surrounding residents.

The chemical is used in the manufacture of Teflon nonstick cookware, waterproof clothing, food packaging and other products. It can be found in house dust, carpet cleaning liquids, microwave popcorn bags and many other products.

For this study, the researchers picked people living near the DuPont plant because the chemical has contaminated drinking water supplies and the people nearby have levels of about seven times more than the US average.

The study involved 4,943 children and their mothers who were exposed to the chemical in the drinking water for at least one year.

Children more at risk: Researchers

Children seemed to concentrate the chemical more than their mothers, the researchers say. Another study linked perfluorinated compounds to reduced effectiveness of childhood vaccinations (see previous blog post).

Environmental health scientists fear that exposure to these industrial chemicals can interfere with the development of the brain, reproductive tract, hormones and possibly the immune system.

Previous research also linked exposure to these chemicals to kidney problems, including an increased risk of kidney cancer, and certain pregnancy complications.

Full results from the studies are expected in 2012.

Source: Scientific American

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