PFC exposure may spark metabolic changes in overweight children

February 25, 2014

Overweight children who were exposed to higher levels of perfluorinated chemicals tended to show early signs of developing the metabolic syndrome, according to a new study published in The Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

The term metabolic syndrome describes a cluster of risk factors that increase the chances of developing heart disease, stroke and diabetes. The study is the first to find changing metabolic markers in children were associated with exposure to (PFCs), common industrial chemicals used as stain and water repellants in carpets, furniture and textiles.

"Our results suggest that these chemicals, which linger in the environment for years, could represent an important public health hazard that merits further study," said one of the study's authors, Clara Amalie Gade Timmermann, MSC, of the University of Southern Denmark. "Overweight children who were exposed to higher levels of PFCs tended to have higher concentrations of insulin and triglycerides in their blood, and these metabolic changes could signal the beginnings of the ."

The cross-sectional study examined PFC exposure and metabolic changes in 499 third-graders. Researchers measured the participants' body mass index and waist circumference and analyzed blood samples for PFC, insulin, triglyceride and glucose levels. The samples were taken in 1997 as part of the European Youth Heart Study.

The analysis found that who had higher levels of certain PFCs in their blood were more likely to have higher levels of insulin and triglycerides as well. There was no relationship between PFC exposure and metabolic markers in normal-weight children.

"Although the two types of PFCs we investigated are being phased out due to health concerns, the use of other types of PFCs is on the rise," Timmermann said. "There is an ongoing need to determine how the entire class of chemicals is affecting children's health."

Explore further: PFCs, chemicals in environment, linked to lowered immune response to childhood vaccinations

Related Stories

Metabolic syndrome is similar in different age groups

February 13, 2014

Metabolic risk factors cluster similarly in children and adults, according to a study carried out at the University of Eastern Finland. Furthermore, in adults, the clustering of these risk factors increases the risk of premature ...

Recommended for you

A metabolic master switch underlying human obesity

August 19, 2015

Obesity is one of the biggest public health challenges of the 21st century. Affecting more than 500 million people worldwide, obesity costs at least $200 billion each year in the United States alone, and contributes to potentially ...

Scientists probe obesity's ties to breast cancer risk

August 20, 2015

Obesity is a well-known risk factor for breast cancer, but researchers haven't figured out what connects the two. A new study suggests the link may be due to a change in breast tissue structure, which might promote breast ...

Can a new drug brown the fat and trim the obese person?

May 28, 2015

New research has found that a variant of a drug used to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension prompts weight loss in obese mice. Among mice fed a high-fat diet, those who did not get the medication became obese while medicated ...

Changing stem cell structure may help fight obesity

February 17, 2015

The research, conducted at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), found that a slight regulation in the length of primary cilia, small hair-like projections found on most cells, prevented the production of fat cells from ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.