Household Cleaning Products Could Be Making Kids Overweight, According to Study

We’ve heard a lot about the importance of gut bacteria on your overall health. A study came out a few months that showed a link between c-sections, gut bacteria, and childhood obesity. There’s a lot to learn, and science is still discovering just how important it is, especially in children. But a recent study on household cleaning products is raising a lot of alarms.

Researchers seem to have found a link between multi-surface household cleaning products and overweight children.

The study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, looked at the effects of household cleaners on gut microbiota in kids. Researchers analyzed the gut flora from 757 infants from the general population. The bacteria was studied when the babies were 3-4 months old. Then, at 1 and 3 years old, their weight was monitored. They also monitored the children’s exposure to detergents, disinfectants, and even eco-friendly cleaning products in their environments. For comparison, researchers used data from the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development birth cohort on microbes in infant fecal matter. They used the WHO growth charts for BMI scores.

They found altered gut bacteria in infants who were frequently exposed to household cleaning products, specifically multi-surface cleaners. No change was recorded with detergents or eco-friendly cleaning products.

Anita Kozyrskyj is a University of Alberta pediatrics professor, and principal investigator on the SyMBIOTA project. She says, “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.” However, babies who grew up in homes that used eco-friendly cleaners had different gut bacteria. As such, they were less likely to be overweight as toddlers.

The authors of the study say, “Antibacterial cleaning products have the capacity to change the environmental microbiome and alter risk for child overweight”.

It’s certainly an alarming study, and we hope it’s looked into further. In the meantime, maybe swap out those household cleaning products with eco-friendly options.

(Image: iStock/demaerre)


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