Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Hairspray Is Linked To Common Genital Birth Defect, Says Study

Date:
November 24, 2008
Source:
Imperial College London
Summary:
Women who are exposed to hairspray in the workplace during pregnancy have more than double the risk of having a son with the genital birth defect hypospadias, according to a new study in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

Women who are exposed to hairspray in the workplace during pregnancy have more than double the risk of having a son with the genital birth defect hypospadias. Hairspray and hypospadias may be linked because of chemicals in hairspray known as phthalates.
Credit: iStockphoto/Kimberly Deprey

Women who are exposed to hairspray in the workplace during pregnancy have more than double the risk of having a son with the genital birth defect hypospadias, according to a new study published November 21 in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

The study is the first to show a significant link between hairspray and hypospadias, one of the most common birth defects of the male genitalia, where the urinary opening is displaced to the underside of the penis. The causes of the condition are poorly understood.

Women have a two to three-fold increased risk of having a son with hypospadias if they are exposed to hairspray in the workplace in their first trimester of pregnancy, according to the new study, by researchers from Imperial College London, University College Cork and the Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology in Barcelona.

The study suggests that hairspray and hypospadias may be linked because of chemicals in hairspray known as phthalates. Previous studies have proposed that phthalates may disrupt the hormonal systems in the body and affect reproductive development.

It is thought that hypospadias affects around 1 in 250 boys in the UK and in the USA, although estimates about prevalence vary. Usually, hypospadias can be successfully treated with corrective surgery after a boy reaches his first birthday, but more severe cases can lead to problems with urinating, sexual relations and fertility.

The new research also reveals that taking folic acid supplements in the first three months of pregnancy is associated with a 36 percent reduced risk of bearing a child with the condition. The UK Department of Health already recommends that folic acid supplements are taken up until the twelfth week of pregnancy in order to prevent neural tube defects such as spina bifida.

Previous smaller studies had suggested that hypospadias might be linked to vegetarianism but the new study did not show any increased risk in women who had a vegetarian diet during pregnancy.

Professor Paul Elliott, the corresponding author of the research from the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at Imperial College London, said: “Hypospadias is a condition that, if left untreated, can cause problems in later life. Although surgery to correct it is usually successful, any surgery will be traumatic for the child and his parents. It is encouraging that our study showed that taking folic acid supplements in pregnancy may reduce the risk of a child being born with the condition. Further research is needed to understand better why women exposed to hairspray at work in the first 3 months of pregnancy may have increased risk of giving birth to a boy with hypospadias.”

The researchers reached their conclusions after conducting detailed telephone interviews with 471 mothers whose sons had been referred to surgeons for hypospadias and 490 controls, across 120 London Boroughs and Local Authority Districts.

The questionnaires explored a range of aspects of the women’s health and lifestyle, including the mother’s occupation and possible exposure to different chemical substances, family history of disease, maternal occupation, vegetarianism, smoking and use of folate supplements.

The study was funded by a grant from the UK Health and Safety Executive, the Department of Health, the Department of the Environment, Transport and The Regions and the European Chemical Industry Council.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Imperial College London. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Imperial College London. "Hairspray Is Linked To Common Genital Birth Defect, Says Study." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 November 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081121081353.htm>.
Imperial College London. (2008, November 24). Hairspray Is Linked To Common Genital Birth Defect, Says Study. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081121081353.htm
Imperial College London. "Hairspray Is Linked To Common Genital Birth Defect, Says Study." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081121081353.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Snack Attack: Study Says Action Movies Make You Snack More

Snack Attack: Study Says Action Movies Make You Snack More

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) You're more likely to gain weight while watching action flicks than you are watching other types of programming, says a new study published in JAMA. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) The U.N. says the problem is two-fold — quarantine zones and travel restrictions are limiting the movement of both people and food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctors Fear They're Losing Battle Against Ebola

Doctors Fear They're Losing Battle Against Ebola

AP (Sep. 2, 2014) As a third American missionary is confirmed to have contracted Ebola in Liberia, doctors on the ground in West Africa fear they're losing the battle against the outbreak. (Sept. 2) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tech Giants Bet on 3D Headsets for Gaming, Healthcare

Tech Giants Bet on 3D Headsets for Gaming, Healthcare

AFP (Sep. 2, 2014) When Facebook acquired the virtual reality hardware developer Oculus VR in March for $2 billion, CEO Mark Zuckerberg hailed the firm's technology as "a new communication platform." Duration: 02:24 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins