42 'Mystery Chemicals' In The Blood Of Pregnant Women And Th
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When researchers collected blood samples from 30 pregnant women in San Francisco, they expected to find evidence of common environmental chemicals. Chemicals known as PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are found in the bloodstreams of 99% of Americans. Other toxic substances, like flame retardants and pesticides, often show up in human blood samples as well.

But to their surprise, the researchers discovered 55 chemicals never before reported in people. A few of those chemicals contained recognizable compounds: Two belonged to the PFAS family, one was a pesticide, and 10 more were plasticizers - substances that make plastic durable and flexible.

The remaining 42 substances were labeled "mystery chemicals," since the researchers couldn't find a way to categorize them. The chemicals were identified in all 30 pregnant woman - as well as their babies after they were born, according to the researchers' new study. The researchers were particularly concerned by evidence that the chemicals could pass from one generation to next.

The team found four types of PFAS that weren't previously identified in human blood. In general, such chemicals are found in food packaging, clothing, carpets, and cookware. The researchers think several of the "mystery chemicals" they found may hail from consumer goods as well, since items like furniture, electronics, and cosmetics are known to contain chemicals.

In general, chemicals pose a greater health risk in higher doses, or when people are exposed more regularly. But Woodruff said it will take a while before scientists know what levels of these mystery chemicals, if any, are potentially hazardous to humans.

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