News from ISGlobal
Maternal exposure to chemical compounds during pregnancy can affect children’s respiratory health. A new study led by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), a centre supported by ”la Caixa”, has provided new evidence of this association. The findings, published in Environment International, indicate that prenatal exposure to DDE (dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene) may lead to reduced lung function in children.
DDE belongs to a group of synthetic pollutants called organochlorine compounds, which during the 20th century were widely used in pesticides, electrical insulators and other industrial products. DDE was banned in the 1970s, but it does not break down easily and is still found today in the environment and the food supply.
The study included 1,308 children from Sabadell, Gipuzkoa and Valencia belonging to the Spanish INMA Project birth cohort. Between 2004 and 2008, blood samples were collected from the mothers during pregnancy and from the umbilical cord at the time of birth. Despite having been banned for several decades, organochlorine compounds were detected in the blood of more than 80% of the women who took part in the study. Lung function was assessed by spirometry tests performed at age four years in children from Gipuzkoa and Sabadell and at age seven years in children from Gipuzkoa, Sabadell and Valencia.
Alicia Abellan, Jordi Sunyer, Raquel Garcia-Esteban, Mikel Basterrechea, Talita Duarte-Salles, Amparo Ferrero, Judith Garcia-Aymerich, Mireia Gascon, Joan O. Grimalt, Maria-Jose Lopez-Espinosa, Carlos Zabaleta, Martine Vrijheid, Maribel Casas. Prenatal exposure to organochlorine compounds and lung function during childhood. Environment International. July 2019. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2019.105049.