On June 27, 2014 The Boston Globe published an article reporting that only 1 in 5 doctors talk to their pregnant patients about the risks of chemical exposures. The conclusion is based on a survey published by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists carried out on 2500 physician members of the medical association. While 80% of doctors agreed that questioning patients about potential exposures could lead to risk reductions, only 7% had training regarding environmental exposures. This leads doctors to feel uncomfortable deliberating the topic with patients. According to Naomi Stotland, associate professor at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), U.S., doctors have other more pressing issues to address, such as smoking, alcohol and diet. Another reason for not discussing the topic is that environmental exposures to chemicals are difficult to avoid, and usually do not cause life threatening risks but rather subtler health effects to babies. Stotland and her UCSF colleagues have developed an online brochure advising pregnant women on how to avoid chemical exposures such as endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) in plastic food contact materials.
Deborah Kotz (June 27, 2014). “Talking to pregnant women about toxic chemicals.” The Boston Globe.
Stotland, N. et al. (2014). “Counseling Patients on Preventing Prenatal Environmental Exposures – A Mixed-Methods Study of Obstetricians.” PLOS one (published online June 25, 2014).