“Forever Chemicals” May Increase Risk of Pregnancy Complications

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TUESDAY November 2, 2021 (HealthDay News)

The so-called “chemicals forever” could increase a pregnant woman’s risk of developing a dangerous disease known as preeclampsia, the researchers say.

Perfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) are widely used and durable chemicals found in the drinking water of many American communities.

A new study has found a link between exposure to PFAS and late preeclampsia, a disease characterized by high blood pressure and kidney dysfunction that occurs in 2-8% of pregnancies in the United States. It can cause serious and sometimes fatal complications for women and babies.

“PFAS are ubiquitous in the environment and are commonly detected in humans,” said David Cantonwine, perinatal environmental epidemiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

“Exposure to PFAS has been linked to a wide range of adverse health outcomes, including reproductive health outcomes. In our study, we focused on the effects of exposure to PFAS chemicals early in life. pregnancy and preeclampsia, ”Cantonwine added in a press release from the hospital.

Investigators measured nine PFAS chemicals in 75 women with preeclampsia at about 10 weeks gestation and in 75 others without problems. The results showed an association between prenatal exposure to PFAS and late preeclampsia.

There was no significant association between PFAS exposure and early preeclampsia, suggesting that the link between PFAS and preeclampsia may not primarily involve placental development, according to the study.

Results appear in the journal Environmental health perspectives.

The authors noted that this was a relatively small study. They hope to confirm their results in a larger study.

“The main purpose of this article was to try to provide information to scientists looking to do similar studies,” Cantonwine said. “Replicating and validating these results can help us learn about the impact of toxic substances such as PFAS on maternal health, hopefully leading to relevant policy changes.”

The Biden administration recently announced that it will require manufacturers to publicly report on PFAS levels in household items.

Preeclampsia was originally thought to result from incomplete remodeling of the uterine vertebral arteries in the placenta, but it is now known that it can have a number of potentially overlapping causes, the researchers said.

More information

The Preeclampsia Foundation has more on persistent high blood pressure during pregnancy.

SOURCE: Brigham and Women’s Hospital, press release

Robert Preidt

Medical News
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