Background In daily life, we are exposed to thousands of man-made chemicals. Some of these chemicals do have endocrine disrupting properties. Prenatal exposure to EDCs may interrupt the maturation of the immune system and lead to childhood allergies.
Objective To determine the relationship between prenatal exposure to EDCs and allergic symptoms in 12 month old children.
Methods Fourty-two pregnant women were recruited at the first antenatal visit to the midwife. Exposure to four different classes of EDCs was determined in cord blood and breast milk: perfluorinated alkyl acids, PCBs, organochlorine pesticides and phthalate metabolites. Allergic symptoms at the age of 12 months was assessed by means of questionnaires. Gender, maternal BMI, parental education and parity were taken into account as possible confounders. Logistic regression analyses were carried out.
Results A significant positive relation was found between prenatal PFOS exposure and allergic symptoms in children at the age of 12 months (OR 4.84; p = 0.04). In addition, prenatal exposure to PFOA and MECPP was positively related to allergic symptoms in 12 month old children, while a negative association was found for phthalate metabolites MEHHP and MEOHP. However, these associations were not significant (Table 1).
Discussion Prenatal exposure to PFOS is significantly related to allergic symptoms at the age of 12 months. Moreover, associations between exposure to several other EDCs and allergic symptoms in children of 12 months old have been found. In conclusion, prenatal exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals poses children at risk of developing allergic symptoms.
Funding Co-funded by the European Commission within the Seventh Framework Programme DENAMIC (no. 282957).