For a long time, chemicals found in certain plastics and pesticides have been found guilty of creating a hormonal imbalance in both men and women, which prevented couples from having children.
Now, new research shows that chemicals found in many household plastics may even increase the risk of a miscarriage. A study presented at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine says that pregnant women should avoid canned foods and from those stored in plastic bottles left in the sun, as chemicals leak more quickly at higher temperatures.
AdvertisementThe scientists from Stanford University studied 114 pregnant women who had a history of miscarriages. They noted that those with the highest concentration of the chemical, bisphenol-A (BPA), in their blood were 80% more likely to experience a miscarriage than those with normal levels.
"This is important because miscarriages are very common and human exposure to BPA is near-ubiquitous," said lead author Dr. Ruth Lathi, reproductive endocrinologist, Stanford University. But scientists also said that further studies were required to find out why BPA led to miscarriages.
Another study, published in the journal, Environmental Health Perspectives, specifically looked at the relationship between loss of pregnancy and levels of phthalates in urinary samples. Phthalates are chemicals used in plastic containers, pesticides, soft vinyl products and synthetic fragrances. Researchers distinctively examined two phthalates - DEHP and DEP, used in synthetic fragrances and vinyl products.
Of the 48 miscarriages in the research, 32 happened in the first six weeks of pregnancy. They found that levels of DEHP were 30% higher in women who miscarried than in women who successfully carried their pregnancies to term.
According to the authors, the only other environmental contaminant that has been linked to loss of pregnancy is the pesticide DDT. Phthalates have been pegged as a possible cause of miscarriage in animal studies too. Studies have shown reduced numbers of live offspring and a higher number of spontaneous abortion in rats that eat high levels of these chemicals.
Bottom Line:If you're planning to get pregnant, it's best to stay away from products that create hormonal imbalance.
5 Tips to Avoid Toxic Chemical Exposure during Pregnancy
- Eat organic food
- Cook and store your food in glass or stainless steel and avoid plastic food containers
- Avoid any product that has synthetic fragrance such as cosmetics, lotions, shampoos and so forth
- Opt for cloth shower curtains to kick vinyl out of your house
- Buy baby products packaged in cardboard or cloth to avoid products made of vinyl