More than 50 environmental chemicals found in pregnant women and their newborns

Credit: Yukai Du
Credit: Yukai Du

Researchers have detected more than 50 new environmental chemicals lurking in people’s bodies, the vast majority of which are little known or unknown compounds.

These chemicals — which have never been observed in people before — were discovered in a study of pregnant women and their newborns.

Of these newly detected chemicals, two were perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS. These chemicals, used in consumer products such as nonstick cookware and pizza boxes, stay in the human body for a long time and can accumulate, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)… But most — 37 — of these newly detected chemicals are ones that researchers have little to no information on, the authors wrote in the study.

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The researchers can determine whether these chemicals are present in the maternal and cord blood, but they can’t tell at what levels, [researcher Tracey] Woodruff said. For that reason, the researchers cannot say whether the chemicals detected are dangerous at the levels at which they are present in mothers and babies. 

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