In an article published on August 4, 2018, by the newspaper The Washington Post, journalist Rachel Cernansky reported on the risks posed by exposure to chemicals during pregnancy. There is “evidence suggesting that ingredients in plastics, vehicle exhaust and cosmetics additives can have profound impacts on babies’ health,” Cernansky explained, citing the 2013 opinion by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the 2015 opinion by the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO), and the Project TENDR. All of these documents report on the effects of environmental chemicals on reproductive and developmental health and call for a reduction in exposure. “[R]esearchers have found a variety of links, including between some pesticides and impaired fetal growth and neurodevelopment; between phthalates (used in many plastics) and increased risk of premature birth and impaired neurodevelopment; and between fine-particle air pollution and altered expression of genes that influence neurodevelopment,” she specified.

However, according to a recent U.S. survey, most obstetricians and gynecologists (OBGYNs) do not discuss exposure to chemicals with their pregnant patients, Cernansky informed. “[W]omen are told to avoid alcohol and cigarettes, to make sure they get enough folate and omega-3 fatty acids, and to get adequate sleep and exercise,” but “[m]ost are told little or nothing about reducing their exposure to chemicals,” she asserted. Further, Cernansky offered a list of advice on how to avoid chemical exposures, compiled from the Project TENDR, the “Toxic Matters” website by the University of California San Francisco, U.S., and the insights from different scientific experts.

Read more

Rachel Cernansky (August 4, 2018). “Environmental toxins are seen as posing risks during pregnancy.The Washington Post


American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (2013). “Exposure to toxic environmental agents. Committee Opinion No. 575.” Obstetrics and Gynecology 2013;122:931–935.

Di Renzo, G.C. et al. (2015). “International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics opinion on reproductive health impacts of exposure to toxic environmental chemicals.International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics (published online September 30, 2015)

Bennett, D. et al. (2016). “Project TENDR: Targeting environmental neuro-developmental risks. The TENDR consensus statement.Environmental Health Perspectives 124:A118-A122.

Grindler, N.M., et al. (2018). “OBGYN screening for environmental exposures: A call for action.PLOS One (published online May 16, 2018)