By By Robert Preidt HealthDay Reporter, HealthDay Reporter
TUESDAY, May 10, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Exposure to potentially harmful chemicals is on the rise among pregnant women in the United States, a new study warns.
“This is the first time we’ve been able to measure the amounts of chemicals in such a large and diverse group of pregnant women, not just identify the chemicals,” said the study’s lead author, Tracey Woodruff, director of the University Program. of California in San Francisco. on Reproductive Health and the Environment, in a university news release.
For the study, Woodruff’s team analyzed 12 years of urine samples from 171 women in California, Georgia, Illinois, New Hampshire, New York and Puerto Rico enrolled in the National Institutes of Health’s Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes program. US Health
About one-third (34%) were white, 40% were Hispanic, 20% were black, and the remaining 6% were from other or multiple groups.
The study authors screened urine samples for 103 chemicals, mostly pesticides, plastics, and replacement chemicals for BPA and phthalates.
More than 80% of the chemicals were found in at least one of the women in the study, and more than a third were found in most of the women. Some of these chemicals were present in higher amounts than seen in previous studies, the researchers reported.
Many of the chemicals the women had been exposed to were newer forms of chemicals that have been banned or eliminated, but may be just as harmful as the ones they replaced.
The researchers also found that many of the women had been exposed to neonicotinoids, a type of pesticide that is toxic to bees, according to the study published online May 10 in the journal environmental science and technology.
Women who were not white, those with lower levels of education, those who were single and those who had been exposed to tobacco had higher levels of overall chemical exposure, the findings showed.
Hispanics had especially high levels of parabens, which are used as preservatives, as well as phthalates and bisphenols, which are used in plastics.
“While pesticides and replacement chemicals were prevalent in all women, we were surprised to find that Latinas had substantially higher levels of parabens, phthalates, and bisphenols,” said study first author Jessie Buckley. She is an associate professor of environmental health and engineering and epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore.
“This could be the result of higher exposures to products with chemicals, such as processed foods or personal care products,” Buckley suggested.
Exposure to chemicals can come from the air, food, water, plastics, and other industrial and consumer products. Although these chemicals can pose risks to pregnancy and child development, few are routinely monitored in people, the study authors noted.
SOURCE: University of California, San Francisco, press release, May 10, 2022
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