Feb 03, 2016

Study Finds Levels of Hormone Disrupting Chemicals in Children

100% of subjects had detectable levels of at least five endocrine disrupting chemicals in Hackensack University study

endocrine hormones, hackensack, BPA, 4NP, TCS

A recent study conducted by The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center at Hackensack University Medical Center revealed detectable levels of various environmental chemicals in children. In a study of 50 healthy, prepubescent patients, 100% of subjects had detectable levels of at least five endocrine disrupting environmental chemicals in their urine. Almost three-quarters of these children had detectable levels of eight or more chemicals. The study was published in BMC Endocrine Disorders, Dec. 2015 edition.

Endocrine disrupting chemicals like bisphenol-A (BPA), phthalates, parabens, 4-nonylphenol (4NP), and triclosan (TCS) pervade our lives. They are present in plastic products such as baby bottles and food containers; in antibacterial hand soaps, toothpaste and household cleaning supplies; and in personal care products and cosmetics. Previous research has linked these chemicals to changes in estrogen metabolism associated with pediatric endocrine disorders and estrogen-dependent cancers.

"Science continues to confirm these chemicals are everywhere," said Deirdre Imus, president and founder of The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center. "Now we know they are also inside our children's bodies. What we need to focus on is how we can reduce these exposures so that we can protect our children's health."

In the United States, cancer is the leading cause of disease-related death among children and adults. Cancer in children has steadily increased since 1975, specifically testicular and ovarian germ cell tumors. Additionally, studies have concluded the incidence of precocious puberty is increasing, especially in girls. Both of these developments have been linked to environmental factors, including exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals.

Of particular note is that nearly one-third of the children in the study had measurable levels of 4NP in their urine, a novel finding that suggests an urgent need for more research regarding the presence and impact of this chemical. 4NP is used in the production of cleaning products, plastics, rubber and personal care products, including hair products. This is the first known published study of 4NP in American children.

While no associations were found between the chemicals tested and estrogen metabolites, the presence of multiple chemicals in a majority of children's urine is cause for major concern, especially considering the increasing prevalence of pediatric hormonal disorders.

"The results of this small but innovative study underscore the need for further research to understand how exactly chemicals impact children, both before and after they go through puberty," said pediatrician Dr. Lawrence Rosen, primary investigator for the study.

"We are thankful to the families who participated in this research on endocrine disruptors in our everyday environment," said the study's lead author, Erin S. Ihde.