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New Research Suggests That Chemicals Found In Cosmetics And Plastics Might Be Tied To Nearly 56,000 Premature Births In The U.S. In 2018

Daria Minaeva - stock.adobe.com - illustrative purposes only

New research suggests that chemicals in plastics and cosmetics, which can disrupt hormones, might be connected to almost 56,000 premature births in the United States in 2018.

In a study recently published in The Lancet Planetary Health, researchers derived that figure after analyzing data from over 5,000 pregnant women in the U.S.

This analysis indicated a link between exposure to phthalates– chemicals commonly found in hairspray, nail polish, and food packaging– and a higher likelihood of preterm births and below-average birth weights.

The research revealed a connection between the levels of phthalate metabolites in maternal urine and the probability of certain pregnancy outcomes.

However, it stopped short of proving that these chemicals were the direct cause of preterm births– instead highlighting a significant correlation.

According to the study, the shifts in birth timing were measured in days. Yet, the repercussions of a reduced gestational period can be considerable.

Typically, a human pregnancy lasts approximately 40 weeks, with any births happening before the 37-week mark being classified as preterm.

“We know that even shortening gestation from 40 weeks to 37 is associated with severe cognitive consequences, as well as additional healthcare and other related costs,” said Dr. Leonardo Trasande, the study’s lead author and NYU Langone Health pediatrics professor.

“So, when you shift the population of people giving birth by even days or a week, you’re increasing the number of preterm births substantially.”

Daria Minaeva – stock.adobe.com – illustrative purposes only

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