"We found that infants living in households with disinfectants being used at least weekly were twice as likely to have higher levels of the gut microbes Lachnospiraceae at age 3-4 months; when they were 3 years old, their body mass index was higher than children not exposed to heavy home use of disinfectants as an infant," said Anita Kozyrskyj, a University of Alberta pediatrics professor, and principal investigator on the SyMBIOTA project, an investigation into how alteration of the infant gut microbiome impacts health.
‘Using detergents or eco-friendly cleaning products is less likely to make babies and toddlers overweight.’
- Babies from homes that used detergents and eco-friendly cleaners had a different set of gut bacteria and carried a lower risk of becoming overweight as toddlers
Thus, the findings of the study seem to suggest that multipurpose disinfectants and household cleaners may alter gut bacteria, particularly the Lachnospiraceae family in babies and increase their risk of overweight.
"Antibacterial cleaning products have the capacity to change the environmental microbiome and alter risk for child overweight
," write the authors. "Our study provides novel information regarding the impact of these products on infant gut microbial composition and outcomes of overweight in the same population."
Kozyrskyj adds that using eco-friendly products could be associated with an overall healthier lifestyle and dietary habits in the mother, contributing in turn to the healthier gut bacteria and an ideal weight of their infants.
Possible Study Limitations
Dr. Kozyrskyj agrees that further studies are needed to classify cleaning products by their actual composition, which was not done in the current study.
In conclusion, epidemiologists Dr. Noel Mueller and Moira Differding, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health write in a related commentary that the current study can pave the way for future studies on the use of household disinfectants as one of the risk factors of childhood obesity through alterations in gut microbial flora. Reference :
- Mon H. Tun, Hein M. Tun, Justin J. Mahoney, Theodore B. Konya, David S. Guttman, Allan B. Becker, Piush J. Mandhane, Stuart E. Turvey, Padmaja Subbarao, Malcolm R. Sears, Jeffrey R. Brook, Wendy Lou, Tim K. Takarao, James A. Scott and Anita L. Kozyrskyj., "Postnatal exposure to household disinfectants, infant gut microbiota and subsequent risk of overweight in children" CMAJ September 17, (2018) 190 (37) E1097-E1107; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1503/cmaj.170809