We already have the data on the chemical exposome of pregnancy

Environmental pollution remains one of the most pressing concerns worldwide. Pollutants generated by human activities contaminate air, soil, water and food. As a result, humans and other living things are chronically exposed to a wide range of chemical compounds that affect their health. These environmental hazards have been estimated to contribute to more than 25% of non-communicable diseases, but the true impact is not fully known. There are approximately 10,000 chemical compounds that are classified as hazardous to health, and only 450 of them are regulated by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). In addition, there are more than 90,000 other substances that have not received a toxicity assessment. There are several ways of entering the body: ingestion, dermal exposure or inhalation.

BiSC participates in the ATHLETE project (https://athleteproject.eu/ ), which aims to determine the levels of exposure to various chemical compounds, analyze how these affect the health of the mother and the baby and understand the mechanisms of action That’s why we asked you to collect urine samples and drew blood during your pregnancy. Using these samples we measured the levels of the following chemical compounds:

  • Persistent compounds (which take a long time to be eliminated from the body and which we measured in blood in the third trimester):
    • polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) ( anti -stick in kitchen utensils, waterproof clothing, food packaging and cleaning products, among others)
  • Non-persistent compounds (which are removed very quickly from the body and which we measured in the urine collected in the first and third trimesters):
    • 1 organophosphate flame retardant
    • 5 organophosphate pesticides
    • 4 pesticides
    • 7 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) (derived from fuel combustion)
    • hygiene products , manufacturing of resins, fertilizers, medicines, etc.)
    • 17 phthalates and DINCH (used as plasticizers, cosmetics, paints, additives in medicines, etc.)
    • 2 glyco-ethers (paint solvents)
    • cotinine (derived from tobacco)

The next step will be to analyze the association of the levels of these compounds with different health variables collected in BiSC , such as placental function, birth weight or neurodevelopment.

The text has been written by Mariona Bustamante, a researcher of BiSC project.