UCSF study: Toxic chemicals found in pregnant women

January 14, 2011 6:59:18 PM PST
UCSF researchers warn a stunning number of chemicals, some of them banned, are being found in pregnant women. This first of its kind study hopes to draw attention from the government.

Some of these women weren't even alive when these chemicals, yet they were still found in their systems. Researchers hope the government is paying attention to these findings. They studied pregnant women because the fetus is so vulnerable and it's such a critical point for development that exposure to toxic chemicals can impact them later in life.

Research from animals exposed to these chemicals show that there are issues with infertility and cancer. Some of the items that carry these chemicals include furniture, cookware, plastics and pesticides. These toxins are proving that they don't easily break down.

"Other pesticides unfortunately, some of the ones found in the study, were banned in the 1970s and they are with us because they are so persistent in the environment and we can't really do anything to avoid exposure because they remain with us for so long," Sarah Janssen, Ph.D., from the UCSF Department of Medicine said. "So what we really need are laws, stronger federal laws."

Some of the things pregnant women can do to avoid contact with these chemicals include:

  • No pesticides in the house (example: pet collars)
  • Avoid heavily fragranced products (example: candles and cleaning supplies)
  • Avoid remodeling a nursery
  • Take shoes off in the house
  • Limit fish high in mercury
Researchers hope the government will do something about these chemicals that stay so long in the atmosphere and in people's systems.

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