Decrease Chemical Exposure
A new study by UCSF found that toxic chemicals from the environment and other items, such as cookware and beauty products, were found in the blood and urine of pregnant women in the United States. Find out how you can limit your exposure to toxic chemicals.
A new study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives raises concerns about the number of chemicals pregnant women are exposed to -- and how these chemicals affect the growing baby.
The study found that all 268 women tested had at least 43 of the 163 chemicals tested in their blood and/or urine. What is even more surprising is that some of these chemicals had been banned before some of the women were even born! Common chemicals found in their bloodstream were from nonstick cookware, furniture, processed foods and beauty products.
Toxic chemicals found in pregnant women
These chemicals that were tested for and found in pregnant women included:
Why are banned chemicals in the bloodstream?
Some of the chemicals that had been banned since the 1970's were present in the pregnant moms' bloodstreams, which raises concern as to how long these substances last in our environment and our body.
"Certain classes of chemicals we know go into people's bodies and stay there for very long periods of time," says Arlene Blum, founder of the Green Science Policy Institute in Berkeley.
How does this affect unborn babies?
Even though the levels of the chemicals found in the mothers' bloodstreams were low, some worry about the effect multiple chemicals will have on the growing fetus.
"The study's results show that unborn babies are exposed to a soup of chemicals -- and furthermore, because the women in the study were tested for exposure to only a fraction of chemicals on the market -- the study also suggests that pregnant women are likely carrying and passing onto their fetuses many more chemicals than have been reported here," says Dr. Sarah Janssen, senior scientist at the natural Resources Defense Council.
The American Chemistry Council downplayed the results of the study, saying in a statement that the "mere presence of a chemical in the body does not mean that it will cause negative health effects" and that technological advances can measure "exceedingly minute traces of these substances."
How to protect yourself
More on reducing chemicals during pregnancy: