A Concern About Cancer-Causing Chemicals Amounts of Pregnant Women Are Being Exposed

A Concern About Cancer-Causing Chemicals Amounts of Pregnant Women Are Being Exposed ...

Due to the chemical's connection to cancer, the researchers find the exposure to these chemicals to be particularly concerning.

Pregnant women in the United States are being exposed to melamine, cyanuric acid, and aromatic amines, which may increase the risk of cancer and harm child development, according to experts at the University of California, San Francisco, and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Melamine and cyanuric acid were discovered in virtually all research participants' samples, although the highest levels were found among women of color and those who were exposed to more tobacco. Four aromatic amines, commonly used in dyes and pigments, were also discovered in almost all pregnant participants.

Melamine and aromatic amines may be present in people's air, contaminated food they consume, household dust they inhale, drinking water, or by using items that contain plastic, dyes, or pigments.

“These chemicals are of great concern due to their association with cancer and developmental toxicity, yet they are not routinely monitored in the United States,” said Tracey J. Woodruff, Ph.D., a professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive medicine who leads the UCSF Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment, and the co-author of a recent paper published in the journal Chemosphere.

Aromatic amines are present in hair dye, mascara, tattoo ink, paint, tobacco smoke, and diesel exhaust. Cyanuric acid is used as a disinfectant, plastic stabilizer, and cleaning solvent in swimming pools.

Melamine was shown to be a kidney toxicant after infant formula and pet food poisoning incidents in 2004, 2007, and 2008 that resulted in numerous deaths, kidney stones, and urinary tract blockage in several individuals. Additional animal studies suggest that melamine also affects brain function.

Researchers measured 45 chemicals associated with cancer and other dangers using new techniques to capture chemicals or chemical traces in urine samples from a small but diverse group of 171 women who are part of the National Institutes of Health's Environmental Effects on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) Program. The study period covered 2008 to 2020.

The 171 women came from California, Georgia, Illinois, New Hampshire, New York, and Puerto Rico. About one-third (34%) of the respondents were white, 40% were Latina, 20% were Asian, and the remaining 3% were from other or multiple racial groups. Prior research on melamine was limited to non-pregnant people in the United States.

Jessie Buckley, Ph.D., an associate professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said she is surprised that we continue to see higher levels of many of these harmful chemicals in people of color.

For example, levels of 3,4-dichloroaniline, a chemical used in the manufacture of dyes and pesticides, were more than 100% higher among Black and Hispanic women than white women.

Giehae Choi, a postdoctoral fellow at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the first author of the paper, says the findings raise concerns about the health of pregnant women and babies.

Giehae Choi, Jordan R. Kuiper, Emily S. Barrett, Sridhar Chinthakindi, Anne L. Dunlop, Shohreh F. Farzan, Margaret R. Herbstman, John D. Meeker, Rachel Morello-Frosch, Thomas G. O'Connor, Megan E. Romano, Sheela Sathyanarayana, and Tracey J. Woodruff, 30 August 2022, Chemosphere. DOI: 10.10

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