Household disinfectants could be making kids overweight

Infants in households where household cleaners are used frequently showed higher levels of certain gut bacteria

15 September 2019

Original Story: CNN

Artwork by Natasia Designs

Multi-surface cleaners and other commonly used household disinfectants could be making children overweight by altering their gut bacteria, a study suggests.

University of Alberta pediatrics professor Anita Kozyrskyj was senior author of the study, which found infants living in households where antimicrobial disinfectants are used at least weekly were twice as likely to have higher levels of the bacteria Lachnospiraceae at ages three to four months than children whose homes did not frequently use disinfectants.

When those children were three years old, their body mass index (BMI) was higher than that of the children in homes that less frequently used disinfectants, the study also showed.

The research, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The researchers used data on 757 infants from AllerGen's Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) birth cohort, and examined exposure to three categories of cleaners-disinfectants, detergents and eco-products-on the infant gut microbiome.

Kozyrskyj is principal investigator on the SyMBIOTA project, an investigation into how changes in the infant gut microbiome affects health.