Main Researcher: Marianna Krause, PhD student
Other Researchers: Anna-Maria Andersson, Hanne Frederiksen,Niels Erik Skakkebæk, Anders Juul
Objective: To elucidate possible adverse effects of prenatal exposure to chemical UV filters on the human fetus.
Description: Biomonitoring studies show that over 90% of the Danish population excretes UV filters in their urine not only during the summer period, but throughout the whole year. It is caused by wide industrial use of UV filters, not only in sunscreens, but also in many other everyday consumer products, such as personal care products, food packaging, furniture, clothes, detergent, toys, cleansing agents and many others. Widespread use of UV filters is caused by their unique properties to protect colors from blushing and to protect plastic from melting due to sun exposure. UV filters were shown to pass from the skin into the blood and were also detected in breast milk. But what is not known is whether UV filters pass from exposed mothers through the placenta barrier and into the fetus. UV filters have documented endocrine disrupting properties proven by various in vitro and animal studies. Especially the thyroid function, growth and reproductive system are affected.
In this study we enrolled 200 pregnant women undergoing amniocentesis. This gave us a unique opportunity to elucidate the exposure of UV filters to the human fetus by measuring levels of UV filters in amniotic fluid and comparing it to maternal samples (urine and serum) collected at the same time. Newborn children have been clinically examined on two occasions focusing on their growth, thyroid function and reproductive organs to examine whether prenatal exposure to UV filters had affected their health. Blood samples collected at minipuberty (newborn at about 3 months) will allow us to evaluate the effect of prenatal exposure to UV filters on thyroid and reproductive hormones.
Status: Collection of biological samples and all clinical examinations of newborns has been completed. Biological samples have been analysed for the content of different chemical UV filters and thyroid hormones and growth factors have been measured in maternal serum.
Output: The content of chemical UV filters in simultaneously collected maternal urine and serum and amniotic fluid has been accepted for publication and will be published autumn 2017. Analyses of maternal exposure to chemical UV filters in relation to maternal thyroid hormones and insulin-like growth factor I and its major binding protein and in relation to birth outcomes is ongoing.