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Study: Disinfectants May Cause Overweight Issues In Children

A new study reveals that multi-surface cleaners and other disinfectants around the house could be causing children to become overweight. This is due to a change within the bacteria in their guts.

CNN advised that babies (aged three to four months) that live in homes where antimicrobial disinfectants are being used at a minimum of two times each week increase their levels of the bacteria known as Lachnospiraceae, versus those infants of that same age living within households that do not use disinfectants. The study discovered that when kids with increased levels of said bacteria hit three years of age, their body mass index (BMI) was higher than those kiddos living in a household that does not use these disinfectants as frequently.

Lachnospiraceae bacteria are a normal aspect of a human’s gut; however, past animal studies indicate that the higher the levels of this type of bacteria, the higher the insulin resistance and body fat.

The new report, stemming from Canada, used Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development study data, where that research team begun following participants in 2009; watching them grow from mid-pregnancy, to childhood, and then adolescence.

When the babies were about three to four months, the team received a poop sample for each baby, where families answered questions about their household. Over 750 samples were reviewed and analyzed, with data regarding household use of disinfectants, as well as BMI figures (as the babies got older).

Interestingly enough, while there is a link to Lachnospiraceae bacteria with frequent use of disinfectants, there isn’t a connection with washing detergents or eco-friendly cleaners that don’t encompass the ingredients within these ‘bacteria-killing’ products.

Speaking of, another interesting discovery that surprised the study team was that infants living in homes that used eco-friendly cleaning products revealed another microbiota bacteria known as Enterobacteriaceae, with lower levels of this within a child’s system; decreasing their chances of being overweight by toddler age. Still, the underlying reason and cause of this is not really known, and it could be linked to the fact that moms using these eco-friendly products could be providing their children with an overall healthier lifestyle.

Regardless, while the results are very interesting, more information and research is needed before the team can make any recommendations around disinfectants and household cleaning products.

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