Study finds dozens of chemicals in pregnant women, never before found in the human body


UCSF researchers have found evidence of dozens of chemicals in the bodies of pregnant women that have never been traced in the human body before.

Scientists said they see it as a wake-up call for chemicals to be more closely monitored in day-to-day products.

The study used relatively new blood-scanning technology to look at the blood from pregnant women and their children.

“We detected 109 chemicals that were both in the mom and in the infant, so that means that these chemicals are crossing the placenta, and unfortunately it also means that the fetus is going to be exposed to these chemicals before birth,” said Professor Tracey Woodruff, who directs UCSF’s Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment.

That could be dangerous, she said, but they just don’t have enough information yet.

“About 55 of these chemicals have never been reported in people,” Woodruff told KCBS Radio. “Also, what’s really challenging with the study is that there’s 42 of these chemicals that we’re not even really sure what their sources are and what their uses are.”

That means they don’t know which commercial product the chemicals may have come out of, be it makeup or a couch or something in air pollution from manufacturing.

But Woodruff said the message here isn’t that people should just be afraid of everything they touch.

“This is actually a very solvable problem,” she noted. “We just need the data, the information in order for the government to act on behalf of the public.”

The government can act by identifying exactly which chemicals are going into which products and taking them out of the marketplace if they are shown to be harmful.

Woodruff said the problem is that manufacturing often moves faster than regulation, which is why they found these mystery chemicals in pregnant women and their babies.

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