Barcelona (EFE).- Researchers from the Institute for Environmental Diagnosis and Water Studies (IDAEA-CSIC) have detected, for the first time, eleven chemical compounds in the umbilical cord blood of 69 newborns in Barcelona, including ultraviolet filters used in sun creams and parabens for use in cosmetics.
The researchers, who have had the collaboration of the Sant Joan de Déu Hospital, have warned that these chemical compounds can have adverse effects in the early stages of fetal and child development and see the need for greater monitoring and regulation of these products, which are They are transferred from mother to baby through the placental barrier.
“In 17% of the umbilical cord samples that we analyzed, we detected benzophenone-3 (oxybenzone), the most widely used ultraviolet (UV) filter worldwide for sun protection and which is currently prohibited in some countries,” explained the researcher. from IDAEA-CSIC Sílvia Díaz-Cruz, main author of the study.
According to Díaz-Cruz, this endocrine disruptor affects reproduction and causes a greater risk of endometriosis, infertility and problems during pregnancy and childbirth.
Avobenzone, used in sun creams and body lotions
Another of the UV filters is avobenzone, found in 15% of the samples, and which has been detected for the first time in the umbilical cord in this work.
Avobenzone is a common substance in sun creams and other body lotions due to its broad protection against solar radiation, and it can interfere with the natural action of estrogens and promote the development of childhood obesity, according to the researchers.
They have also found high concentrations of benzophenone-2 (53.3 ng/mL), a known endocrine disruptor that was found in previous studies in human placenta and breast milk.
Regarding the concentrations detected in the umbilical cord samples, Díaz-Cruz stressed that “the problem with these compounds is that, as they are contaminants of concern and recent detection, the regulation has not established a limit value for human exposure.”
However, in the product, cosmetic legislation does require that benzophenone-3 and avobenzone represent up to a maximum of 6% and 4% of the total weight of the product, respectively.
Researchers have pointed out that the main route of exposure to these compounds is by skin contact, although they can also enter the human body through contaminated food or water, or by inhaling air.
Among the other chemicals found for the first time in the umbilical cord, the antioxidant MBM stands out, which is an additive in plastic containers.
“Considering the limited number of samples in our work, these results should be interpreted as a preliminary reference to study the transfer of chemical compounds through the umbilical cord in a larger population,” concluded Díaz-Cruz, who proposes monitoring to know the negative effects of these compounds in the long term and carry out a more appropriate regulation in relation to human health and the environment.