A new study by the University of California, San Francisco shows that almost all pregnant U.S. women carry multiple chemicals in their bodies, some toxic, which can adversely affect their unborn children.
Some of these chemicals have been banned since the 1970s, and others are used in common products such as processed foods, non-stick cookware, and personal care products. Of the 163 chemicals tested, three-quarters of them were present in some or all of the women. Between 99 and 100 percent of the women tested carried polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), organochlorine pesticides, perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), phenols, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), phthalates, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and perchlorate.
These chemicals can cause negative health effects that include cancer, reproductive problems, and birth defects. The chemicals can also pass down from the mother to the developing fetus.
Although there are ways to avoid some chemicals, the exposure is generally out of the individual’s control and the responsibility falls to the policymakers.