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50 new environmental chemicals detected in humans2 min read

April 9, 2021 2 min read


50 new environmental chemicals detected in humans2 min read

Reading Time: 2 minutes

New research has brought forth the detection of 50 new chemicals in people’s bodies. Vast majority of these chemicals are unknown compounds!

Researchers recruited 30 women who were looking at prenatal care and delivery care at the Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and UCSF Mission Bay Medical Center. Blood samples were collected from the mothers during labour and during delivery. Blood was also collected from the baby’s umbilical cord. If a certain chemical is present in the mum, the baby has already been exposed to it.

Owliver’s Obscure Observations
The umbilical chord is the passage through which oxygen and other nutrients travel from the mother’s body to the baby’s developing body (foetus). So, if a certain chemical is present in the mum, the baby has already been exposed to it.

Reserachers identified 109 chemicals. 55 of them have never been detected before. Some of the chemicals detected have been linked to reproductive problems. Two chemicals, called PFAS and PFOA, have been shown to cause developmental, liver, kidney, and immunological problems in laboratory animals. They have been linked to several human health problems in humans too!

How did the chemicals get there?

Two of the chemicals found in the samples, perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, are used in products like nonstick cookware. They can also be found in pizza boxes. They stay in the human body for a long time.
Ten of these newly detected samples are chemicals used in the creation of plastic. These are called plasticizers.
Ten of the newly detected substances were plasticizers, or chemicals used in the production of plastics. Two more detected chemicals are found in cosmetics, and one in pesticides. Exposure to any of these sources could have led to the chemical’s presence in the bodies of the mothers, and their babies.

What’s disturbing is that 37 of the of these newly detected chemicals are ones that researchers know close to nothing of!

Why is this a cause of worry

Pregnant women, and infants are anyway a vulnerable part of world’s population. So little is known about the chemicals that their potential health hazards cannot be ascertained. Science allows researchers to find the chemicals but the extent of their presence cannot be known, yet.

The way forward…

The researchers are now studying the toxicity of these chemicals to learn how the chemicals affect various tissues. They will use this information to prevent adverse health outcomes and disease. 

Sourced from LiveScience