Common Chemicals Linked to Early Birth
About the Study
“We knew that exposure to phthalates was virtually ubiquitous here in the U.S. and possible worldwide and preterm births increased for unknown reasons over the past several decades.” – Dr. John Mecker, University of Michigan School of Public Health in Ann Arbor
- The study examined women who had agreed to provide urine sample throughout their pregnancies in hopes of understanding how environmental factors may affect pregnancy length.
- Researchers then compared the urine samples of the 130 mothers who delivered babies before 37 weeks of gestation to the 352 mother who delivered at full term (39 weeks).
- The researchers concluded that woman with higher levels of phthalates in their urine were more likely to experience preterm birth.
- The risk of preterm birth was calculated to increase anywhere from 16 percent to 65 percent depending on the specific phthalates detected.
- Previous studies have also suggested a link between phthalates and shorter pregnancies as well as decreased birth weight.
What Are Phthalates?
- Phthalates are commonly used to increase a plastics transparency, flexibility and durability and are most often used to soften PCV.
- The chemicals may also be found in cosmetic items such as nail polish, eye shadow, perfume and hair spray.
- Phthalates are in the process of being phased out in the U.S., Europe and Canada as health concerns and environment awareness rise.
- While phthalates most often enter the body through the consumption of food and beverages stored in plastic containers, they may also be absorbed through the skin.
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