268 expecting mothers recently participated in a study designed to find out just how many harmful chemicals are circulating throughout their bodies. Whether from the environment, processed foods, household cleaners, or even cosmetics, the numbers are staggering. 163 different chemical compounds were studied, and scientists found that 99% to 100% of all women who participated tested positive for one or more of the hazardous substances. Nearly 96% of those tested were positive for BPA, which is a chemical used in plastics and many food containers. It has recently been under fire because of its proven tendency to negatively affect brain development in prenatal exposure.
Among other chemicals found in the test participants were PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) which are used in paints, fluorescent lighting, and coolants. Strangely enough, it was actually prohibited from being produced in 1979, yet still showed up in a 2010 study. All 268 women were also determined to have traces of PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ethers) that are used as flame retardants as well as DDT, a pesticide that was made illegal in 1972. Also found in many subjects were phthalates that are contained in a number of lotions, deodorants, soaps, and makeup.
More information will be needed before direct links between these chemicals and specific health conditions can be made, but researchers did note that a number of the chemicals found in these pregnant women were at the same concentrations that have previously been associated with ill effects in children. The fact that so many of the mothers-to-be in the study were found to have multiple different chemicals in their systems is a point of concern as well, because exposure multiple agents can greatly increase the risk of danger.
Exposure to chemicals like the ones found here have all been associated with problematic situations for pregnant women, and their unborn children. Risks such as birth defects, premature labor, and childhood deaths have all been recorded and linked to hazardous substances like these.