The study examines the impact phthalates have on pCRH, or placental corticotropin releasing hormone, which plays an important role in labor.
The study, which appears in the journal Environment International, was among the first to examine the impact that phthalates, added to plastics to increase flexibility, have on pCRH, which the placenta produces and that increases throughout the course of pregnancy. The hormone plays an important role in promoting the onset of labor, but when levels are high or rise rapidly earlier in pregnancy, it may contribute to preterm birth and fetal growth problems as well as high blood pressure, diabetes, and postpartum depression.
“We are all exposed to phthalates in our environment through the products we use and the foods we eat,” says Emily S. Barrett, an associate professor at the Rutgers University School of Public Health and member of the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute. “Our findings show that these chemicals may alter the production of essential placental hormones, which has important implications for the course of pregnancy as well as subsequent child health and development.”
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