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Perinatal exposure to solvents and wheezing, eczema and food allergies at age 2


Objectives The time from the prenatal period through early childhood is an important window of vulnerability for the developing immune and respiratory systems, both sensitive to environmental chemicals such as solvents. This study sought to examine the effects of solvent exposure during the prenatal and postnatal periods on wheezing, eczema and food allergies in early childhood.

Methods This study, based on the PELAGIE cohort, included 1505 mother–child pairs with measurements of prenatal and postnatal solvent exposures and data on wheezing, eczema or food allergies. The maternal occupation reported at inclusion, in early pregnancy allowed us to define prenatal occupational solvent exposure (by three specific job-exposure matrices). Data on prenatal and postnatal domestic solvent exposure, that is exposure to products that contain solvents, were obtained from self-administered questionnaires, once at inclusion and again when the child was 2 years old. Outcome data was collected at the 2-year follow-up. Associations between exposures and outcomes were estimated by logistic regression models, after adjustment for potential confounders.

Results No association was observed between prenatal exposure to solvents and the outcomes studied. Postnatal exposure was associated with an increased risk of wheezing (OR=1.80 (95% CI 1.25 to 2.59)) which persisted after adjustment for prenatal exposure. No significant association was observed with eczema or food allergies.

Conclusions Postnatal exposure to solvent-containing products in the home may increase the risk of wheezing in early childhood. Follow-up studies are needed to determine if the health effects observed at age 2 persist at later ages.

  • Solvents
  • Prenatal Exposure
  • Postnatal Exposure
  • Wheezing
  • Children

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