“Exposure to a class of endocrine-disrupting chemicals known as perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, during pregnancy can influence obesity in granddaughters two generations later, according to findings accepted for presentation at the Endocrine Society Annual Meeting.

In an analysis of women enrolled while pregnant in the Child Health and Development Studies during the 1960s, along with their daughters and granddaughters in the early 2000s, researchers found that an observed association between exposure to PFAS and future generations’ obesity was stronger among grandmothers with lower cholesterol levels vs. those with higher cholesterol levels.

PFAS are a large and expanding group of manmade compounds that are widely used to make everyday products more resistant to stains, grease and water, according to the NIH. The class of more than 4,700 chemicals is used in everything from nonstick cookware to stain-resistant carpeting and firefighting foam.

‘PFAS are a class of compounds shown to impact metabolic parameters, including obesity, in controlled animal studies, and since these chemicals are widely distributed and have been in use since the 1940s, we decided to investigate whether PFAS, in addition to the pesticide dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, commonly known as DDT, could correlate to metabolic disruption following in utero exposures to daughters and to the granddaughter generation,’ Barbara Cohn, PhD, MPH, director of the Child Health and Development Studies at the Public Health Institute in Berkeley, California, told Healio. ‘The rapid rise in obesity worldwide is a public health emergency, and we felt it was important to investigate whether environmental chemicals could be contributing. One goal is to prevent obesity in future generations. Another is to discover obesity and diabetes causes in current generations and discover biomarkers that can help us find mechanisms and ways to intervene’…”