Perfume and cosmetics make kids fat?

The Mt. Sinai School of JunkScience tries blaming phthalates for childhood obesity.

The researchers report,

Overall, no significant associations are reported among children. Among overweight children, monoethyl phthalate and body mass index were associated. In an overweight children, monoethyl phthalate and waist circumference were associated.

So what they actually found was that fat kids tend to be fat.

The Mount Sinai School of Medicine media release is below and the abstract is below that.

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Exposure to chemical found in personal care products may contribute to childhood obesity

Researchers from the Children’s Environmental Health Center at The Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York have found an association between exposure to the chemical group known as phthalates and obesity in young children – including increased body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference.

Phthalates are man-made, endocrine-disrupting chemicals that can mimic the body’s natural hormones. They are commonly used in plastic flooring and wall coverings, food processing materials, medical devices, and personal-care products. While poor nutrition and physical inactivity are known to contribute to obesity, a growing body of research suggests that environmental chemicals – including phthalates – could play a role in rising childhood obesity rates.

This study was the first to examine the relationship between phthalate exposure and measurements used to identify obesity in children. The paper is available online in the journal Environmental Research. The project was funded by the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences, the National Cancer Institute, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Mount Sinai researchers measured phthalate concentrations in the urine of 387 black and Hispanic children in New York City, and recorded body measurements including BMI, height, and waist circumference one year later. The urine tests revealed that greater than 97 percent of study participants had been exposed to phthalates typically found in personal care products such as perfume, lotions, and cosmetics; varnishes; and medication or nutritional supplement coatings. The phthalates included monoethyl phthalate (MEP) and other low molecular-weight phthalates. The team also found an association between concentrations of these phthalates with BMI and waist circumference among overweight children. For example, BMI in overweight girls with the highest exposure to MEP was 10 percent higher than those with the lowest MEP exposure.

“Research has shown that exposure to these everyday chemicals may impair childhood neurodevelopment, but this is the first evidence demonstrating that they may contribute to childhood obesity,” said the study’s lead author Susan Teitelbaum, PhD, Associate Professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. “This study also further emphasizes the importance of reducing exposure to these chemicals where possible.”

The percentage of obese children ages six to 11 in the United States has grown from seven percent in 1980 to more than 40 percent in 2008, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 15 percent of American children between the ages six and 19 are characterized as obese. In New York City, more than one in five children in public schools are obese.

Dr. Teitelbaum and the team at the Children’s Environmental Health Center plan to further evaluate the impact of these chemicals on childhood obesity. “While the data are significant, more research is needed to definitively determine whether phthalate exposure causes increases in body size,” she said.

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Associations between phthalate metabolite urinary concentrations and body size measures in New York City children

Susan L. Teitelbauma, , , Nancy Mervisha, Erin L. Moshiera, Nita Vangeepurama, b, Maida P. Galveza, b, Antonia M. Calafatc, Manori J. Silvac, Barbara L. Brennera, Mary S. Wolffa
a Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Department of Preventive Medicine, One Gustave L. Levy Place, Box 1057,NY 10029, USA
b Department of Pediatrics, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, NY 10029, USA
c Division of Laboratory Sciences, National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
Received 18 May 2011. Revised 28 November 2011. Accepted 12 December 2011. Available online 4 January 2012.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2011.12.006, How to Cite or Link Using DOI
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Abstract

Objective

To examine prospectively associations between urinary phthalate metabolite concentrations and body size measures in children.

Methods

Urinary concentrations of nine phthalate metabolites: monoethyl (MEP); mono-n-butyl (MBP); mono-(3-carboxypropyl) (MCPP); monobenzyl (MBzP); mono-isobutyl (MiBP); mono-(2-ethylhexyl) (MEHP); mono-(2-ethyl-5-oxohexyl) (MEOHP); mono-(2-ethyl-5-carboxypentyl) (MECPP); and mono-(2-ethyl-5-hydroxyhexyl) phthalate (MEHHP) and the molar sum of the low molecular-weight phthalate metabolites (low MWP: MEP, MBP and MiBP) and high molecular-weight phthalate metabolites (high MWP: MECPP, MEHHP, MEOHP, MEHP and MBzP) and of four di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) metabolites (ΣDEHP: MEHP, MEHHP, MEOHP, MECPP) and anthropometry, including body mass index and waist circumference were measured among 387 Hispanic and Black, New York City children who were between six and eight years at cohort enrollment (2004–2007). Relationships between baseline metabolite concentrations and body size characteristics obtained one year later were examined using multivariate-adjusted geometric means for each body size characteristic by continuous and categories of phthalate metabolite concentrations. Stratified analyses by body size (age/sex specific) were conducted.

Results

No significant associations are reported among all girls or boys. Dose response relationships were seen with monoethyl phthalate and the sum of low molecular-weight phthalates and body mass index and waist circumference among overweight children; for increasing monoethyl phthalate concentration quartiles among girls, adjusted mean body mass indexes were as follows: 21.3, 21.7, 23.8, 23.5 and adjusted mean waist circumference (cm) were as follows: 73.4, 73.5, 79.2, 78.8 (p-trend<0.001 for both).

Conclusion
In this prospective analysis we identified positive relationships between urinary concentrations of monoethyl phthalate and the sum of low molecular-weight phthalates and body size measures in overweight children. These are metabolites with concentrations above 1 μM.

Highlights
We examine the association between phthalate metabolites and body size in children. Overall, no significant associations are reported among children. Among overweight children, monoethyl phthalate and body mass index were associated. In an overweight children, monoethyl phthalate and waist circumference were associated.

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3 responses to “Perfume and cosmetics make kids fat?

  1. Stop me if I’m wrong, but did we not have fat kids back in Rennaisance times, (see Leonardo da Vinci’s “Virgin of the Rocks”) long before there were synthetic phthalates?

  2. It’s an absolute fact: exposure to the chemical group known as phthalates
    and eating too damn much causes obesity.

  3. Random thoughts
    Hmm…I wonder what the coorelation is between heavy set children and heavy set parents.
    Do phthalates cause obesity or does obesity cause phthalate retention?
    What is the phtahate exposure between thin, average and the heavy set.
    I hate to go paint with the broad sterotype brush, but could it be that the heavy set take more medications/supplements/diet pills as well as more perfumes/deoderants?
    If you were constantly being scapegoated for causing global warming, high health care as well as constantly being blamed as “its all your fault” by authority figures at school and on TV – wouldn’t you compensate at bit?
    (please note, I am thin and can do little to alter this fact)

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