Butylbenzyl phthalate (BBzP) is used in a range of household items and is slowly released into the air.
A US study shows eczema by the age of two was more than 50% more likely for babies of those exposed to high levels of BBzP.
The study has been conducted at the Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health at the Mailman School of Public Health.
Lead author of the study Allan C. Just said: ‘While hereditary factors, allergens, and exposure to tobacco smoke are known to contribute to the condition, our study is the first to show that prenatal exposure to BBzB is a risk factor.’
The research looked at 407 nonsmoking African-American and Dominican women and their children in New York City.
Exposure to BBzB was measured through a urine test during the third trimester of pregnancy.
Following birth, the mothers were asked if their child had been diagnosed with eczema.
The result show eczema by age two was 52% more likely in children whose mothers had been exposed to higher concentrations of BBzP, compared to those exposed to lower concentrations.
The paper is being published in Environmental Health Perspectives
– the journal of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
To read the abstract, please click here