Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) hinder fetal development in the uterus according to a publication by scientists at the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. As part of a study, the authors analyzed the data of almost 2,300 pregnant women who visited 20 U.S. clinics between 2009 and 2013.
The scientists used data from ultrasound examinations and compared the size of each fetus with the amount of POPs in the mother’s blood. They found that even very small concentrations of POPs had negative effects.
The substances involved include organochlorine pesticides, dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). They are broken down extremely slowly – if at all – in the environment and therefore accumulate along the food chain. As a result, POPs have spread everywhere, including in human blood and tissue.
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