De­ter­gents linked to gen­i­tal de­fects in baby boys: study

The China Post - - LIFE -

Preg­nant women reg­u­larly ex­posed to a range of de­ter­gents, sol­vents and pes­ti­cides have a sub­stan­tially greater risk of giv­ing birth to boys with gen­i­tal de­for­mi­ties, ac­cord­ing to a new French study.

The re­search, led by two pro­fes­sors at the Re­gional Uni­ver­sity Hos­pi­tal Cen­tre in the French city of Mont­pel­lier, found that women who reg­u­larly work with such chem­i­cals, in­clud­ing clean­ers and hair­dressers, were at great­est risk of hav­ing sons born with hy­pospa­dias.

The birth de­fect, which af­fects about three in 1,000 new­born boys, is a con­di­tion where the uri­nary open­ing is ab­nor­mally po­si­tioned on the pe­nis.

Hy­pospa­dias can be treated with surgery but it can af­fect the boy’s fer­til­ity once he reaches adult­hood.

The study, led by pe­di­atric sur­geon Ni­co­las Kalfa and pe­di­atric en­docri­nol­o­gist Charles Sul­tan, was car­ried out over five years and ex­am­ined 600 chil­dren at hos­pi­tals in four French cities, 300 of whom were boys born with hy­pospa­dias.

“The study shows for the first time that regular pro­fes­sional or do­mes­tic ex­po­sure (to th­ese chem- icals), and more gen­er­ally be­ing in con­tact with them, se­ri­ously raises the risk of gen­i­tal de­for­mity,” Sul­tan told AFP.

A sum­mary of the re­search said boys were three times more likely to be born with hy­pospa­dias if they had been ex­posed to chem­i­cals that in­ter­fered with their en­docrine sys­tems in the womb at the mo­ment when the sex of the fe­tus is determined.

Both par­ents’ pro­fes­sions and where they live can play a role, the study added.

The study iden­ti­fies moth­ers work­ing as clean­ers or house­keep- ers, hair­dressers, beau­ti­cians and lab­o­ra­tory work­ers as be­ing par­tic­u­larly at risk.

For the fa­ther, be­ing a farmer, lab worker, cleaner, me­chanic or painter was found to bring a greater chance of the son hav­ing the de­fect.

Living within three kilo­me­ters (1.8 miles) of an in­cin­er­a­tor, land­fill site or a chem­i­cal fac­tory brings a greater risk of hav­ing a son with hy­pospa­dias, Sul­tan said.

“For a long time there has been con­tra­dic­tory data over the ge­netic and en­vi­ron­men­tal causes,” Sul­tan added.

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