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Originally published September 26 2008

Babies Exposed to Chemicals in Utero Twice as Likely to be Fat

by Joanne Waldron

(NaturalNews) A new Spanish study has determined that a baby exposed to common chemicals in utero is twice as likely to be fat, according to an article in The Independent by Geoffrey Lean. Lean reports that this is the first study to link chemical contamination in the womb to obesity. In the past, obese people have been blamed for their own condition; however, new evidence is mounting that shows a poor diet and lack of exercise may not be the only reasons for the obesity epidemic.

Dangerous Pesiticides Found in Umbilical Cords

The study, conducted by Barcelona's Municipal Institute of Medical Research published in the journal Acta Paediatrica, measured levels of a pesticide known as hexachlorobenzene (HCB) in the umbilical cords of 403 children born on the island of Menorca. The children whose umbilical cords contained the highest levels of the pesticide were twice as likely to be obese by the age of six and a half. The authors of the study are not only concerned about the effects of this particular chemical, but of the likely result of exposure to multiple chemicals. The authors of the study feel that exposure to all chemicals must be minimized.

The chemical in this particular study, HCB, has since been banned internationally. It used to be used primarily to treat seeds. Unfortunately, the chemical remains in the environment and still pollutes the food supply.

Animal Experiments Link Obesity to Chemicals

According to the article by Lean, there have been many animal experiments that have linked obesity to chemical exposure. For example, when chemicals like organotins (used in paints on ships), bisphenol A (used in plastics and linings of canned goods), and phthalates (found in things like cosmetics and plastic food wrap) were fed to animals, their offspring to grow up to be obese. These chemicals are known as obesogens.

Exposure to Obesogens Must be Minimized

The obesogens are found in the bodies of nearly all people. To wit, 95% of all Americans excrete bisphenol A in their urine, reports Lean. Moreover, 90% of babies are exposed to phthalates in the womb.

While scientists are not exactly sure why these chemicals cause obesity, it is vital to find ways to minimize exposure to them. It would certainly appear prudent for pregnant mothers to eat organic foods, avoid the use of toxic chemicals around the house and on the lawn, use only natural cleaners and cosmetic products and filter water for drinking and showers. Otherwise, children exposed to these obesogens in utero could be at risk for obesity, even if they eat healthy foods and exercise regularly.

About the author

Joanne Waldron is a computer scientist with a passion for writing and sharing health-related news and information with others. She hosts the Naked Wellness: The Gentle Health Revolution forum, which is devoted to achieving radiant health, well-being, and longevity.

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