Preterm birth more likely with exposure to phthalates

NIH study of pregnant women confirms link with chemicals that could put pregnancy at risk

Pregnant women who were exposed to multiple phthalates during pregnancy had an increased risk of preterm birth, according to new research by the National Institutes of Health. Phthalates are chemicals used in personal care products, such as cosmetics, as well as in solvents, detergents, and food packaging.

After analyzing data from more than 6,000 pregnant women in the United States, researchers found that women with higher concentrations of several phthalate metabolites in their urine were more likely to deliver their babies preterm, which is delivering three or more weeks before a mother’s due date.

“Having a preterm birth can be dangerous for both baby and mom, so it is important to identify risk factors that could prevent it,” said Kelly Ferguson, Ph.D., an epidemiologist at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), part of NIH, and the senior author on the study published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.

Preterm birth more likely with exposure to phthalates

The image shows how a pregnant person may be exposed to phthalates by eating packaged foods and beverages or through personal care product use.

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This page was last updated on Wednesday, July 27, 2022