Intended for healthcare professionals


Report on chemical exposure is criticised for panicking pregnant women

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 06 June 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f3695
  1. Jacqui Wise
  1. 1London

A report by the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology that advises pregnant women to avoid exposure to synthetic chemicals in a range of household products has been criticised for causing unnecessary stress and adding nothing to the debate.1

The scientific impact paper, from the college’s scientific advisory committee, said that pregnant women were exposed to hundreds of such chemicals at a low level and that this exposure could operate additively or interactively.

Although it concluded that on the present evidence it was impossible to assess the risk—if any—from this exposure, it said that women should adopt a “safety first” approach and assume that a risk was present even when it may be minimal or eventually shown to be unfounded.

It said that women should eat fresh rather than processed food whenever possible and to reduce consumption of food in cans and plastic containers, because they may contain chemicals such as bisphenol A and phthalates.

It also said that women should minimise the use of personal care products such as moisturisers, …

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