Luxembourg children’s hair contains 88 different pollutants

If we know that Luxembourg children have been exposed to many pollutants, the study by researchers from the Luxembourg Institute of Health (LIH) allows us to get an accurate idea of ​​their number and type. The goal is to improve measures to protect children from this exposure.

LIH researchers now know more about young children. Literally. A little less than two years after launching an appeal to residents to collect hair samples from children living in Luxembourg, Professor Appenzler’s team was able to note that pollutants were found in large quantities: 88 different pollutants were identified.

“The current study shows that children are simultaneously exposed to multiple pollutants belonging to different chemical classes,” said Alba Iglesias Gonzalez, first author of the study, whose observations were published Tuesday in a press release. The highest concentration is bisphenol A (BPA), commonly used in the plastics industry, which was observed at 133.6 pg/mg, details LIH.

Organic pollutants and pesticides

Although POPs have been banned in Europe for more than 20 years, they have been found in more than half of the samples. LIH explains that Luxembourg’s strong industrial past, combined with the long breakdown time of these chemicals, could be the reason for continued exposure in children. Pesticides were also frequently detected in all samples.

The study further revealed that exposure to pollutants is higher among young adults, and that boys are more exposed to non-permanent pesticides than girls, possibly due to the physiological and behavioral dimorphism between the sexes.

Additionally, kids who mostly followed an organic diet had significantly lower concentrations of 17 types of pollutants in their hair. Whether children live in urban or rural areas affects the type of pollutant they are exposed to rather than the quantity.

Finally, having pets in the home exposes kids to the chemicals in pest control products applied to their four-legged friends.

“Possible interference”

This study is the first of its kind to look at the sum total of children’s exposures over time and exposure factors through hair analysis.

The hair of 256 resident children under the age of 13 was analyzed for 153 compounds, including pesticides and other chemicals. Children’s way of life, in particular knowing if they have pets at home, where they live and what they eat was reported in a questionnaire.

“The results obtained here lay the foundation for further investigations aimed at better understanding the contribution of different sources of exposure to pollutants in children. In addition, the current work gives indications about the identification of exposure factors and suggests possibilities for interventions aimed at reducing them”, concludes Pr Appenzeller

The full analysis and results were recently published in the journal international environment Under the full title: “Investigation of children’s chemical exposure – description and potential determinants of exposure in the Luxembourg region based on hair analysis”.

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