Could the disinfectants that we commonly use to clean our homes cause our children to become overweight? Researchers for the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) study analyzed the gut microbiota of more than 750 children aged 3–4 months, and looked at the children’s exposure to disinfectants, detergents, and eco-friendly cleaning products used in their homes. After controlling for a wide range of other potential factors, the results found a clear, dose-dependent link between the mothers’ reported use of disinfectant in the home, changes in the levels of some types of normal gut bacteria in their 3–4-month-old infants, and the children’s weight at age 1 and 3 years. In contrast eco-friendly cleaning products didn’t increase the likelihood of children becoming overweight.
“We found that infants living in households with disinfectants being used at least weekly were twice as likely to have higher levels of the gut microbes Lachnospiraceae at age 3–4 months,” comments Anita Kozyrskyj, Ph.D., a University of Alberta pediatrics professor, and principal investigator on the SyMBIOTA project, an investigation into how alteration of the infant gut microbiome impacts on children’s health. “When they were three years old, their body mass index was higher than children not exposed to heavy home use of disinfectants as an infant.” And while the researchers are not advocating that we all stop using our disinfectants, Dr. Kozyrskyj does suggest that they should not be overused.
The researchers report their results in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), in a paper titled, “Postnatal exposure to household disinfectants, infant gut microbiota and subsequent risk of overweight in children.”
Disinfectants, detergents, and other cleaning products are now ubiquitous in our homes, and their use has been associated with an increased risk of wheezing in both users and their children, the researchers report. Although there is relatively little data on any association between cleaning products and bodyweight, one study has found high urinary levels of triclosan in adolescents with higher adiposity. Another has shown that piglets exposed to aerosolized disinfectants demonstrate altered gut microbiota. “Indeed, concerns over the potential for antibacterial products to be too effective or even toxic has motivated use of “green” or eco-friendly alternatives,” the authors continue.
Source: GEN News