Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Preterm Birth Linked to Chemicals in Personal Products

Pregnant women exposed to phthalates, a group of hormone-mimicking chemicals found in personal care products and processed foods, may have an increased risk of preterm delivery, a new study suggests.

The study included 130 women in the Boston area who had given birth early, before 37 weeks of pregnancy, and 352 women who delivered at full term between 2006 and 2008. The researchers measured the levels of common phthalates such as DEHP in the women's urine up to three times during their pregnancies.

They found that women who had the highest levels of phthalate metabolites in their urine had a risk of preterm birth that was two to five times higher when compared with women who had the lowest levels.

What's more, when the researchers looked only at the 57 women who had "spontaneous preterm delivery," meaning they didn't have a medical condition that could explain their early delivery, they found the link between exposure to phthalates and risk of preterm delivery was stronger, according to the study published today (Nov. 18) in JAMA Pediatrics.

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