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Study: Banned Toxins Found in Pregnant Women


There's so much to be wary of during pregnancy: cold cuts, caffeine, alcohol, sushi. Most pregnant women are super-careful with just about everything they do.

This makes the findings of a study from the University of California San Francisco all the more disheartening. The study found multiple chemicals, some banned since the 1970s, in the blood or urine of all 268 pregnant women subjects.

Some of the chemicals found in the pregnant women—including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which is linked to cancer—were banned even before the subjects were born. BPA was found in 96 percent of the study's participants. This speaks to a chemical's ability to either stay or pass on in the human body and environment well after exposure or ban from use. Of the 163 chemicals studied, 43 were found in almost all 268 pregnant subjects.

This is definitely a Debbie-Downer study—even if you're scrupulous about all the pregnancy dos and don'ts, chemicals can still be present in your body. This doesn't necessarily translate to negative health effects, however, says the American Chemistry Council reporting on CDC research, but the thought of carrying and passing potentially toxic chemicals on to an unborn child is more than unsettling.

So where does a preggo go from here? Interestingly enough, the rates of chemicals found in pregnant women was lower than that of non-pregnant women. This is because pregnant women are more likely to practice safe health habits (like giving up smoking). So, your efforts are paying off. Other things you can do to limit chemical exposure fall into the common-sense category:

  • Eat a balanced diet and avoid smoking
  • Avoid microwaving food in plastic; opt for glass instead
  • Keep a clean home (toxins are found in dirt and dust)
  • Choose products made from non-toxic material or ingredients

Do you worry about toxins in your body or about passing them on to a baby?