The study, published recently in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, analyzed the blood and urine of 268 pregnant women, chosen by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as a representative sample of the average experience and health in the U.S. Researchers found 163 chemicals in all — with 43 of them showing up in virtually all 268 pregnant women in the study.
The most prevalent chemicals included polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs (chemicals that have been banned since 1979); a byproduct of DDT (a pesticide banned since 1972); organochlorine pesticides; polybrominated diphenyl ethers (flame retardants banned in some states); perfluorinated compounds, phenols, and phthalates, which are shown to cause hormone disruption. The now notorious BPA, or bisphenol A, was found in 96 percent of the women studied.
In addition to the flame retardants and pesticides, the other chemicals found were those used in non-stick cookware, processed foods and personal care products.
Of course the mere presence of a chemical in the body does not automatically mean that it is causing harm, but the sheer number of chemicals, and the fact that they were found in the bodies of so many pregnant women should be cause for alarm. The chemicals have the potential not only to affect the women, but also the fragile babies growing inside them.