This week the journal of Environmental Health Perspectives released the results of an alarmingon the chemicals found in pregnant women, and BPA was in evidence. The report focused on 163 different chemicals, many of which are found in common household products such as furniture, plastics and beauty products. Forty-three of the chemicals were present in nearly all of the 268 women that participated in the study.
Disappointingly – but perhaps not surprisingly – 96% of the women tested positive for BPA. Health experts are concerned about the effects of BPA exposure on unborn babies, as the chemical has been linked to impaired learning, hyperactivity and delayed development. BPA has also been implicated in causing reproductive disorders, such as early puberty onset and increased chance of miscarriages, as well as prostate and breast cancer.
Scientists commenting on the study point to additional reasons for concern, such as the limited number of chemicals included in the test and how they may interact with each other.
Said Dr. Sarah Janssen, senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council, in the San Francisco Chronicle:
“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.”
The study’s lead author, Tracy Woodruff, director of the UCSF Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment, sees the results as a reason for action. “We want to show people this is an issue we want the government to pay attention to and address,” she said.
Meredith Owens contributed to this post.