Exposure to a household chemical in the womb can increase children’s eczema, a new study suggests.
In the study, mothers who were exposed to high levels of a chemical called butylbenzyl phthalate when they were pregnant were 52 percent more likely to have children who developed eczema after age 2 compared to mothers who were exposed to lower levels of the chemical Study found.
Eczema is a chronic skin disorder that causes dry, itchy red skin on the face, scalp, or extremities. It can be brought on by a hypersensitive reaction, similar to allergies, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Butylbenzyl phthalate, or BBzP, is found vinyl flooring, synthetic leather, and other materials, and can be slowly released into the air in homes. Urine tests showed that all but one Mrs in the study had at least some exposure to the chemical.
The study found an association, no cause-and-effect relationship between BBzP and eczema, and future studies should examine whether reducing exposure to the compound leads to a reduction in the risk of eczema, the researchers said.
The study also showed that exposure to BBzP was unrelated with a increased risk of allergies to cockroaches, dust mites or mice, the researchers said.
Dr. Rachel Miller, of the Columbia Center for Environmental Health children and colleagues, analyzed data from 407 non-smoking African-Americans and Dominican women and their children in New York City. The researchers measured the concentration of BBzB in the urine of women during their third trimester of pregnancy. After birth, the mothers were asked if their child had been diagnosed with eczema.
A total of 113 children, or 30 percent, had eczema by the age of two, and the condition was more common in African-American children in the study than Dominican children.
The higher the concentration of BBzP in a woman’s urine during pregnancy, the more likely it was that her child would develop eczema.
The researchers found that they did not measure exposure to BBzP after childbirth, the the Results could affect, and that the presence of eczema itself was reported and not confirmed by a doctor.
The study was published online-26. June in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.
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