France’s biggest biomonitoring study has revealed traces of at least one endocrine disruptor in almost all 4,000 pregnant women surveyed.
The organic pollutants included in the study were bisphenol A, phthalates, pyrethroids (insecticides), dioxins, furans, PCBs, flame retardants and perfluorinated compounds.
Bisphenol A was found in more than 70% of women tested and almost all samples – 99.6% – had traces of phthalates. Samples from 208 women tested positive for at least one of the following substances: dioxins, furans and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). All three substances, all of which are now banned, persist for a long time in the environment.
EDCs found in almost all urine samples of pregnant women tested in France, Health and Environment Alliance, December 2016.
The principle source of exposure cited in the study is through food consumption. Other routes of high exposure include indoor and outdoor air.
The results were at a slightly lower level than in previous studies. Decreases may be partly explained by the introduction of regulations (atrazine, dioxins, furans) and reduced use due to industrial developments (bisphenol A, certain phthalates and organophosphate pesticides).
The results of the current study will be supplemented with findings on metal contaminants. A third phase will provide public health decision makers with recommendations on pyrethroids (being used as substitutes for organophosphate pesticides) and PCBs.