Study: Household Cleaners Could Lead to Childhood Obesity
A new study found that infants in homes that used disinfectants weekly were more likely to be overweight later in childhood.By Alexa Lardieri, Staff Writer
Nearly 80 percent of households use a multi-surface cleaner on a weekly basis. (GETTY IMAGES/IMAGE SOURCE)
COMMONLY USED HOUSEHOLD disinfectants could be making American children fat.
A study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that multi-surface cleaners and household disinfectants alter the bacteria found in children’s guts, which leads to an increase in their body mass index.
Researchers studied 757 infants 3 to 4 months old and found that amounts of various gut microbiota decreased or increased with more frequent use of certain household cleaning disinfectants, including eco-friendly products.
According to the study, with more frequent use of disinfectants the microbiota Lachnospiraceae became more abundant. The abundance of Lachnospiraceae is associated with a higher BMI and increased probability of becoming overweight or obese at 3 years old.
Researchers discovered that 3- to 4-month-old infants in homes where disinfectants were used at least weekly had higher levels of Lachnospiraceae, and when those children were 3 years old, their BMI was higher than children who had lived in homes where disinfectants were not commonly used.
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Anita Kozyrskyj, senior author and pediatrics professor at the University of Alberta, said in a CMAJ podcast that Lachnospiraceae are “a normal component of our gut microbiota,” but previous animal studies have shown that high levels of the bacteria “have been associated with higher body fat and insulin resistance.”
The study found that the most common disinfectant used in homes was multi-surface cleaner, with nearly 80 percent of households using this type of disinfectant on a weekly basis. Although washing detergents were also used in some study participants’ homes, researchers did not observe an increase in Lachnospiraceae associated with the products that did not contain the bacteria-killing ingredients.
Kozyrskyj said that this is “evidence that guy microbiota were the culprit in the association between disinfectant use” and a higher BMI in children.
Alexa Lardieri, Staff Writer