PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — New research shows nearly all pregnant women in the United States have potentially harmful chemicals in their bodies.
Chemicals found in this new research include some that were banned in the 1970’s. And the concern is developing babies are more susceptible to these chemicals, but what they might do isn’t clear.
Michelle Khan is seven months pregnant and trying to take good care of her body.
“I’ve tried to do a little bit more of organic foods, less caffeine,” said Michelle.
Being careful might not be enough. The new study says nearly all pregnant women in the United States have dozens of potentially harmful chemicals in their bodies. Everything from banned pesticides, to Bisphenol A, also known as BPA that’s found in plastic, to compounds from non-stick cookware.
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The study from the University of California found nearly every pregnant woman had at least 43 chemicals in their bodies.
“They get into the baby’s body and then into the baby’s brain and the other organs of the body,” said Dr. Philip Landrigan, a Preventive Medicine Specialist.
Researchers say some of the chemicals found in pregnant women were at levels that have been shown to harm children.
“We don’t know very much about the possible toxicity of these chemicals one at a time, and we know even less about what happens when all these chemicals are in a woman’s body, are in a child’s body all at the same time,” said Dr. Landrigan.
Doctors say these chemicals show up in everyone, not just pregnant women.
Some recommendations to minimize risk include eating organic food with fewer chemicals, avoiding cosmetics with phthalates. Don’t use plastic containers to heat food in the microwave. And keep dust out of the house because dust tracks in a lot of chemicals.
You do want him or her to be really healthy and normal when they come out,” said Michelle.
BPA from plastic bottles were found in 96 percent of pregnant women in this new study. Prenatal exposure to it has been linked to causing cancer and brain problems in later life.
Doctors say these chemicals are all man made and did not exist 50 years ago.