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What pregnant women don't know they're carrying -- toxic chemicals, new study finds

January 14, 2011|Mary Forgione, Tribune Health
(Alexandra Beier / Getty…)

Pregnant women are warned off cigarettes and alcohol to safeguard the health of their fetuses. But a new study identifies 163 environmental chemicals -- such as PCBs and even the long-banned DDT -- that pregnant women might be carrying along with their fetuses.

A team at UC San Francisco examined data from 268 pregnant women and found the presence of a wide range of chemicals linked to pesticides, flame retardants and epoxy resins in their bodies. The findings released Friday were based on 2003-04 data and published in Environmental Health Perspectives. Read the abstract here.

The study, however, didn’t examine the health effects of these chemicals on developing fetuses. This Los Angeles Times story looks at the impact pollutants, foods and environmental chemicals may have on fetuses. And this story examines how chemicals in flame retardants might affect pregnant women.

All of this isn't to say -- obviously-- that pregnant women are exposed to more environmental chemicals than anyone else. Here's a report on a harmful chemical that turned up, of all places, in the packaging of butter.

But it does raise questions about the potential ramifications on those fetuses. It would seem that more studies are warranted on the risks of exposure to these chemicals. That's what the UCSF researchers say -- and who can argue with that?

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