Researchers caution against the use of 4NP and similar chemicals

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

Researchers caution against the use of 4NP and similar chemicals

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A HackensackUMC study consistently found hormone-disrupting chemicals in children and is calling for further research into how this relates to pediatric hormonal disorders and what can be done to limit exposure. 

The study, put together by The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center at HackensackUMC, looked at 50 subjects (25 girls and 25 boys) and is published in the BMC Endocrine Disorders journal under the title, Association of environmental chemicals & estrogen metabolites in children.

"The results of this small but innovative study underscore the need for further research to understand how exactly chemicals impact children, both before and after they go through puberty," ​says pediatrician Dr. Lawrence Rosen, primary investigator in the study, in a press release about the findings.


The press release strongly suggests a link between chemicals like bisphenol-A (BPA), phthalates, parabens, 4-nonylphenol (4NP), and triclosan (TCS) and health issues, namely shifts in estrogen metabolism as well as estrogen-dependent cancers.

"Science continues to confirm these chemicals are everywhere,"​ notes Deirdre Imus, president and founder of The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center.

All of the children in the study had 5 or more of the chemicals in question in their urine, according to the published results. And, “74% had detectible levels of eight or more chemicals; 100% of subjects demonstrated presence of at least one chemical in each class of BPA, phthalates, and parabens; and 28% of subjects had measurable levels of 4NP.”

Notably, this particular research does not document a link between the chemicals’ presence and estrogen metabolites.

What’s more

This research is “the first known published study of 4NP in American children,” ​according to the press release.

Close to one-third of the children involved in the study had 4NP in their urine. Consumer goods are the likely source: “4NP is used in the production of cleaning products, plastics, rubber and personal care products, including hair products,”​ notes the release.

The researchers and institutions involved with the study believe that more research on the incidence and effect of 4NP is needed, but that it might be smarter to err on the side of caution.

"Now we know [these chemicals] are also inside our children's bodies,” says Imus.  "What we need to focus on is how we can reduce these exposures so that we can protect our children's health."

The published HackensackUMC study is here​.

Related research

Separately, researchers working in Spain at the Department of Analytical Chemistry at the University of Granada have developed a bioanalytic test to detect BPA and parabens in breast milk.

That team published findings in the Journal of Chromatography B, showing a high incidence of BPA and parabens in breast milk. And they go on to conjecture that this is “possibly due to mothers' heavy use of cosmetic products,” ​according to Honor Whiteman reporting for Medical News Today. 

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