Researchers from the Institute for Exposomic Research at Mount Sinai found that the growing incidence of a potentially cancer-causing liver disease in children is associated with prenatal exposure to several endocrine-disrupting chemicals
This is the first comprehensive study on the association of prenatal exposure and mixtures of chemicals (PFAS, organochlorine and organophosphate pesticides, phenols, phthalates, PBDEs, and parabens) and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. The researchers used cytokeratin-18 as a novel marker for the disease in children. The findings, reported in JAMA Network Open in July, underline the importance of understanding prenatal exposure to environmental chemicals as a risk factor for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which is a rapidly growing issue in children that can lead to severe chronic liver disease and liver cancer in adulthood.
“These findings can inform more efficient early-life prevention and intervention strategies to address the current non-alcoholic fatty liver disease epidemic,” said Vishal Midya, PhD, first author and postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health and a trainee of the Mount Sinai Institute for Exposomic Research at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
Damaskini Valvi, MD, PhD, MPH, senior author, Assistant Professor of Environmental Medicine and Public Health, and a member of the Mount Sinai Institute for Exposomic Research at Icahn Mount Sinai, added, “We are all daily exposed to these chemicals through the food we eat, the water we drink, and the use of consumer products. This is a serious public health problem. These findings show that early life exposure to many endocrine-disrupting chemicals is a risk factor for pediatric non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and draw attention for additional investigation needed to elucidate how environmental chemical exposures may interact with genetic and lifestyle factors in the pathogenesis of liver disease.”