UAlbany researchers Dr. Erin Bell and Dr. Kurunthachalam Kannan studied newborn babies and endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) to assess the association EDCs may have with infant outcomes such as birth size, gestational age, and head circumference. This is the first study to use newborn bloodspots to measure EDCs and also the first study to examine these chemicals in twins. The resulting publication appeared in the December 2018 Environment International.
EDCs have been historically and widely used for various reasons in common household products – and may impact reproductive and neurodevelopmental outcomes. Although regulations have passed to reduce the use of these chemicals, human exposure to some of these chemicals still takes place due to a slow rate of decomposition. Two EDCs examined in this study, PFOS and PFOA, are known to cross the placenta.
Many previous studies in this topic area have relied upon maternal urine, maternal blood, or cord blood concentrations to look at concentrations of singletons. This study, however, uses bloodspots taken directly from the infant after birth. The Upstate Kids cohort study, comprised of infants delivered between 2008 and 2010, was used for this study. 3125 families provided consent to analyze the newborn bloodspots that were collected from a heel stick shortly after delivery, leading to 2071 singletons and 1040 twins for the data analysis.
The method used for measuring the EDCs from the bloodspots was developed by Dr. Kannan (described in previous publication). Overall, this study found no association between PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate) or PFOA (Perfluorooctanoic acid) and fetal growth. Another chemical considered, Bisphenol A (BPA), a non-persistent chemical, did have an association with fetal growth, but only for twins. BPA was associated with decreases in gestational age, birthweight, and head circumference for twins.
However, further research in this area must be conducted to determine whether the BPA exposure for twins happens post-delivery. Twins are often delivered early and remain in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), where BPA may be prevalent.