A new study conducted at Emory University found that babies born to women exposed to polyfluoroalkyl compounds have a greater risk of obesity. Polyfluoroalkyl compounds (PFCs) are chemicals commonly found in plastics, non-stick cookware, and stain-protecting solutions. The study found that babies born to mothers who had high exposure to PFCs were smaller at birth, but gained weigh more rapidly after birth. This is a bad combination because the rapid, overcompensating weight gain can lead to obesity. My typical rule of thumb is if I can’t pronounce it, I don’t want to cook, eat, wear, or sit on it. Would you rather eat food cooked on a pan made from polyfluoroalkyl or cast iron? Here are some ways to avoid exposure, both pre-natal and after your peanut joins you:
- Cook with pots and pans made from cast iron or stainless steel. Avoid products that say “non-stick” or “Teflon coated”. Cast iron pans, like any product, range in price from very expensive to highly affordable – under $10.
- When shopping for a chair for your nursery, just say “no” when the saleslady asks if you want fabric protection (Scotchgard) on your recliner. Feel free to lecture the sales staff as to why these chemicals are not safe for pregnant women, children, or anyone for that matter. Come to the realization that your kids are going to spill on your carpet, furniture, and clothes. That’s just life with kids. There are many natural cleaning solutions that can be used to remove stains…another blog, another day.
- Avoid paper plates. The coating on paper plates that makes them waterproof is made from PFCs; same with microwavable popcorn bags. The lining used in popcorn bags is filled with PFCs. Use an air popper or make it on the stove with a big pot and a little bit of oil.
Environ Health Perspect doi:10.1289/ehp.1003096