Friday, January 13, 2012

Study links plasticizer to an increased risk of miscarriage

Chemical exposure around conception may lead to a
higher risk of miscarriage in early pregnancy, study shows.
Scientists in Denmark measured exposure to phthalates (chemicals associated with plastics) in couples trying to conceive and found that those with higher levels of exposure were more likely to go through an early pregnancy loss.

The phthalate in question is commonly used in plastics to make it softer and more flexible.

High levels of monoethylhexyl phthalate (MEHP) in the study participants’ urine around the time of conception were more likely to be followed by a pregnancy loss compared to lower levels.

The researchers found the link only in exposures around conception (not in the month prior).

The results appear in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

Phthalates have also been linked to reproductive problems in animals that were exposed to very high levels of the chemical.

Humans are primarily exposed through diet, but phthalates are used in food packaging, medical tubing, children’s toys, personal care products such as nail polish, perfumes and cosmetics, and more.

That is why most people are exposed on a continuous level.

Early miscarriages are very common – experts estimate that one third of all pregnancies end before term, many in the first few weeks when many women are not even aware of the pregnancy yet.

More research is needed to confirm the link between phthalate exposure and pregnancy losses, experts say.

Source: Environmental Health News

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