Absorption of environmental pollutants during pregnancy

Dereumeaux C., Guldner L., Saoudi A., Pecheux M., Crouy-Chanel (de) P., Bérat B., Wagner V., Goria S., “Imprégnation des femmes enceintes par les polluants de l’environnement en France en 2011”. Volet périnatal du programme national de biosurveillance mis en œuvre au sein de la cohorte Elfe. Tome 1: polluants organiques. Saint-Maurice: Public Health France, 2016.

The national biomonitoring programme set up by Public Health France has a perinatal component, the aim being to estimate pregnant women’s exposure to certain pollutants that are present in the environment (bisphenol A, phtalates, pesticides, etc.). The present study, conducted among a subsample of 4,145 mothers belonging to the Elfe cohort, has yielded the first nationally reliable results about pregnant women’s absorption of various environmental pollutants. Based on measurements of biological samples collected in maternity units (cord blood, mother’s blood, urine, hair), the study found that the majority of the pollutants were present in nearly all the pregnant women. Food was the main source of exposure, even though there were other sources, notably the air indoors and outdoors. [Link to article]

Dietary exposure to pesticide residues

De Gavell E., de Lauzon-Guillain B., Charles M.-A., Chevrier C., Hulin M., Sirot V., Merlo M., Nougadère A., “Chronic dietary exposure to pesticide residues and associated risk in the French Elfe cohort of pregnant women”, Environment International, 92-3: 533-42, July-August 2016.

The dietary data used in this study came from a self-report questionnaire that Elfe mothers filled in at the maternity unit. This concerned their consumption of food and drink during the third trimester. These data for pregnant women were linked to data on pesticide levels for each foodstuff, taken from the second Total Diet Study (EAT2) conducted by the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (ANSES). We then integrated the toxicological data for each of the pesticides we analysed.
Results suggested that the food consumption of Elfe women during pregnancy exposed them to a potential risk of pesticide contamination. This risk concerned high levels of three organophosphate pesticides (chlorpyrifos, pirimiphos-methyl and dimethoate) that are mainly detected in fruit and cereals: apricots, peaches, prunes and cherries (44%), bread (11%), apples and pears (10%). These data will inform future analyses of links between pesticides and the development of Elfe children. [Link to article]

Exposure to microorganisms in the home

Rocchi S., Reboux G., Frossard V., Scherer E., Valot B., Laboissiere A., Zaros C., Vacheyrou M., Gillet F., Roussel S., Raherison C., Millon L., and the Elfe team. “Microbiological characterization of 3193 French dwellings of Elfe cohort children”, Science of the Total Environment, 505C, 1026-1035, February 2015.

We analysed the microorganisms (bacteria, house dust mites, moulds) found in the 3,000 dust traps that were placed in infants’ bedrooms during their first 2 months of life, with a view to assessing their impact on the children’s subsequent health, especially their respiratory health. We established six profiles of exposure to microorganisms in the home. Two of these were fairly frequent in western France, with one characterized by high levels of house dust mites and bacteria, and the other by high levels of house dust mites, bacteria and moulds. Greater humidity and temperatures favouring the development of these microorganisms could explain these results. The geographical distribution of our profiles matched that found in a recent study on the frequency of asthma in young children conducted in day nurseries.
Follow-up data for the Elfe children will allow us to check whether there is indeed a link between microorganism exposure profiles and children’s respiratory health. The goal set by the Elfe study is to look for correlations between the incidence of respiratory diseases in the different regions and factors such as housing quality, ventilation and insulation. [Link to article]


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Pregnant women’s diet and their adherence to recommendations, infants’ respiratory health, exposure of mothers and their newborns to environmental pollutants, etc.
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