Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Chemical Count: Quantifying Exposures in Pregnant Women

Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Chemical Count: Quantifying Exposures in Pregnant Women

Article excerpt

A nationally representative assessment of pregnant women's exposure to 163 chemicals reveals what the authors term "ubiquitous exposure to multiple chemicals during a sensitive period of development" [EHP 119(6):878-885; Woodruff et al.]. The new study is based on samples collected and analyzed as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2003-2004.

The researchers assessed data for 268 pregnant women between the ages of 15 and 44. Chemical analytes assessed included metals, perfluorinated compounds, organochlorine pesticides, organo-phosphate insecticide metabolites, phthalates, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), phenols, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dioxin-like chemicals, perchlorate, triclosan, and volatile organic compounds. Not all analytes were measured in all women.

The study showed the pregnant women had widespread exposure to substances banned decades ago as well as contemporary contaminants. Several of the chemical analytes assessed were detected in 99-100% of the pregnant women. There was substantial variation in the levels of individual analytes to which pregnant women were exposed. Most notably, the difference between the geometric mean and 95th percentile for phthalates and one PBDE, BDE-153, varied by more than an order of magnitude. …

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