Exposure to conventional household disinfectants is associated with higher BMI at age 3, whereas the use of eco-friendly products is associated with a reduced risk of overweight or obesity

In September 2018 researchers from Canada published the results of their study to assess the association between maternal report of cleaning product use and overweight at age 3, and whether the association was altered by microbial profiles of fecal samples in 3- to 4-month-old infants. A total of 757 infants were involved in the study. Results showed that specific gut microbiota in the infant was associated with household cleaning with disinfectants and eco-friendly products in a dose-dependent manner. With more frequent use of disinfectants, Lachnospiraceae, the bacterial family of the Clostridial type, became more abundant while Haemophilus, a rod-shaped bacteria, declined in abundance. In addition it was seen that the greater use of eco-friendly products successfully reduced the number of Enterobacteriaceae, which includes Salmonella, Escherichia coli, Yersinia pestis, Klebsiella, and Shigella. Those infants whose mothers fell within the top 30% of household disinfectant use had higher levels of Lachnospiraceae which was associated with a higher BMI and with an increased risk of overweight or obesity at age 3. Use of eco-friendly products was associated with a reduced risk of overweight or obesity which was independent of Enterobacteriaceae levels in the gut.

Tun MH et al. Postnatal exposure to household disinfectants, infant gut microbiota and subsequent risk of overweight in children. CMAJ. 2018 Sep 17;190(37):E1097-E1107.

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