NYU study links PFOA to low birth weight infants

HUNTSVILLE, ALA. - Another medical research study that draws a connection between PFC compounds like PFOA and health problems. This one, from New York University, shows a link between low birth weight babies and the PFOA levels in the mother's blood. But there's also some good news.

The study, published in the International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, basically states banning a chemical once used to make Teflon has led to a sharp decline in pregnancy-related problems, like low birth weight babies.

The researchers used data from other health studies to estimate the levels of PFOA in women of childbearing age and compared that to data from government agencies on the weight of newborn babies.

What they found was considered to be good news.

“So the main conclusion, I would say two things. One is that we observed a decline in the levels of PFOA,” according to researcher and co-author of the study Teresa Attina. She added, ”Levels started to decline in 2009 and consistently declined up until 2014. And then that basically corresponded to a decrease in the number of low birth weight across the same time period."

But the study also seems to draw a direct connection between the presence of the chemicals and pregnancy-related problems. However, Attina is quick to point out their study did not address the cause of the low birth weight issues, only the coincidence that as exposure to PFOA declines, so does the number of low birth weight births. More research is needed.

Attina says the purpose of the study was to explore the financial impact of low birth weight births, and the higher mortality rate among those infants.