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Data collected from pregnant volunteers in the SEPAGES cohort were used to study how chemical pollutants affect the blood pressure of pregnant women. The study, published in 2019 in the International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, is part of the European project HELIX with which the SEPAGES cohort is involved (with 46 women in the study), in addition to a cohort of 52 pregnant Spanish women (Barcelona) and 55 pregnant Norwegian women (Oslo). The results of HELIX show that exposure to chemical pollutants during pregnancy, and in particular to bisphenol A, could affect blood pressure during pregnancy.
Chemical assessments of urine
In this study, assessments of urine collected during pregnancy allow tests to be run for 23 chemical contaminants that characterize exposure to phthalates, phenols (including parabens, bisphenol A, and triclosan), and pesticides from the organophosphate family (a family of pesticides that replaced organochlorine pesticides). Twenty-one urine samples were collected during each week of measurement, and blood pressure was measured at the end of each week of urine collection.
Main result of the study
An increase in urinary levels of certain phthalates and phenols, and in particular bisphenol A, is associated with a decrease in blood pressure during pregnancy. No evidence supports the conclusion that organophosphate pesticides affect blood pressure.
Why does blood pressure decrease in the pregnant women most exposed to chemical pollutants?
This result can be explained by the fact that pregnancy alters the blood pressure, especially during the first and second trimesters, when blood pressure is generally lower than in the third trimester and outside of pregnancy. Thus, exposure to chemical pollutants during pregnancy would amplify the decrease in blood pressure.
Charline Warembourg, Xavier Basagaña, Chiara Seminati, Jeroen de Bont, Berit Granum, Sarah Lyon-Caen, Cyntia B Manzano-Salgado, Isabelle Pin, Amrit K Sakhi, Valérie Siroux, Rémy Slama, Jose Urquiza, Martine Vrijheid, Cathrine Thomsen, Maribel Casas – «Exposure to Phthalate Metabolites, Phenols and Organophosphate Pesticide Metabolites and Blood Pressure During Pregnancy» Int J Hyg Environ Health, 2019 April.
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