Looks like the advice given by The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, to help pregnant women avoid chemicals found in household products, may not be so effective after all.
Items, which it suggests should be avoided, include tinned food, ready meals, shower gel and even new cars.
AdvertisementBut critics say the advice is unhelpful, unrealistic and alarmist as there is not enough information about the chemical risks to fetuses from cosmetics and food packaging, the BBC reported.
The report's authors said that pregnant women can be exposed to a complex mixture of hundreds of chemicals at low levels through the food they eat and the everyday products they use.
Chemicals, such as bisphenol A and phthalates, can leach into food packaging and containers, including food and beverage cans and plastic-wrapped ready meals, according to the authors, Dr Michelle Bellingham and Professor Richard Sharpe.
They also warned that cosmetic products and toiletries such as moisturisers, shower gel and sunscreen could, theoretically, pose a chemical risk.
Cleaning products, air fresheners, non-stick frying pans and fresh paint can be added to the hazard list, they said.
Prof Sharpe noted that their paper outlines a practical approach that pregnant women can take, if they are concerned about this issue and wish to 'play safe' in order to minimise their baby's exposure.
But he stresses that women should not be alarmed as the potential risks were likely to be small.
However, many expert organisations have criticised the RCOG advice.
Rosemary Dodds, of the National Childbirth Trust, said it was unacceptable that pregnant women today still have to make decisions without clear information on possible risks.
Janet Fyle, of the Royal College of Midwives, said pregnant women must take the advice with caution and use their common sense and judgement and not be unnecessarily alarmed about using personal care products, such as moisturisers, cosmetics and shower gels.
She called for more scientific and evidence-based research into the issues and concerns raised by this paper.
Dr John Harrison, director of Public Health England's Centre for Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards, pointed out that there is no evidence to suggest that chemicals in items such as personal care products are a risk to public health.
Dr Chris Flower of the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association said there is no need to worry, and added that there are already strict laws in place for cosmetics.
He said a full safety assessment of every cosmetic product and all its ingredients was undertaken before a product could go on the market and, by law, all of the ingredients in a cosmetic product had to be listed on its packaging.