The study recruited and enrolled women from the Chemicals in Our Bodies cohort in San Francisco between 2014 and 2018. These women were 18-40 years of age, English or Spanish speaking, pregnant with only one baby, in their second trimester and had no diagnosed pregnancy complications at recruitment.
Researchers collected paired maternal and umbilical cord blood from all 302 participants who agreed to bank their samples and be contacted for participation in future studies. (Related: Hundreds of cancer-causing chemicals detected in Americans' blood, urine and hair, says environmental watchdog.)
Researchers detected nine environmental chemicals in the serum samples – at least four chemicals in maternal samples and three chemicals in cord samples. These chemicals were:
PFHxS, linear PFOS, deoxycholic acid and octadecanedioic acid were all detected in at least 97 percent of maternal samples. Deoxycholic acid, tridecanedioic acid and PFHxS were detected in at least 87 percent of cord blood samples.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), current peer-reviewed scientific studies have shown that PFAS can cause:
Researchers associated many of the chemicals found in the maternal blood samples with an increased risk of gestational diabetes (the rates of which are climbing in the U.S.), pre-eclampsia (a serious and sometimes deadly pregnancy complication) and pregnancy-related hypertension.
Meanwhile, tridecanedioic acid and octadecanedioic acid have previously only been documented in people suffering from Reye’s syndrome – a rare but serious condition that affects all organs of the body, particularly the brain and the liver. Reye's syndrome causes an acute increase of pressure within the brain and, often, massive accumulations of fat in the liver and other organs.
The researchers said their study should be a wake-up call as their findings add to a growing body of evidence showing that many chemicals people are routinely exposed to are leading to subtle but harmful changes in health.
"This is such an important issue. It’s urgent we do more to understand the role that chemicals have in maternal conditions and health inequities," said Tracey Woodruff, director of the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) program on reproductive health and the environment.
"We are being exposed to hundreds of chemicals and this research contributes to better understanding the impact they are having on our health."
The United States has the highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world. Maternal death rates in the U.S. doubled between 1999 and 2019, with mortality being the highest for Black mothers.
The study comes at the same time that new testing commissioned by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found the "widespread presence" of PFAS in the drinking water of dozens of U.S. cities.
Elevated levels of PFAS were discovered in Austin, Denver and Los Angeles, as well as in smaller communities like Glencoe, Illinois and Monroe, New Jersey.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), a unit of the U.S. Department of the Interior, reported that 45 percent of U.S. drinking water is contaminated with PFAS.
There are more than 12,000 types of PFAS chemicals, which are also called "forever chemicals" because they persist not only in the environment but also in the bodies of animals and people.
PFAS have been linked to health problems including cancer, decreased fertility and kidney disease. The chemicals, which have been used to make many popular consumer goods, can leach into drinking water from industrial sites, sewage treatment plants, landfills or certain firefighting foams.
U.S. officials have proposed national drinking water standards for six types of PFAS, and the EPA has announced a new framework aimed at preventing some new PFAS chemicals from entering the market.
Chemical giants 3M and Dupont recently agreed to settlements that may provide affected communities billions of dollars to test for toxic chemicals and remove them from their drinking water.
Watch this video about the disturbing discovery of microplastics inside people's bodies.
This video is from the Daily Videos channel on Brighteon.com.