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Combined exposures of pregnant consumers to potential endocrine disruptors

A survey from the Danish EPA concludes that daily life exposure to multiple potential endocrine disruptors from food, indoor environment and consumer products may cause a risk for some pregnant women and further, that there is a need to reduce exposures of pregnant women to potential endocrine disruptors.

In daily life, humans are exposed to chemical substances from various sources such as food, medical products, indoor environment, cosmetics and other consumer products. Among the thousands of chemical substances one could possibly be exposed to in daily life, some have been shown to act as endocrine disruptors in laboratory animals. These substances are also suspected of being endocrine disruptors in humans.

In this project the exposure of women in the child-bearing age to a number of selected suspected endocrine disrupters was investigated. One of the most sensitive periods of human life is the unborn child, because its development requires a fine balance in the hormonal systems. The pregnant woman was in focus in this project, because her exposure to suspected endocrine disruptors can give an impression of what her unborn child may be exposed to in sensitive stages of its development.

The survey is a follow up of a Danish survey from 2009 showing a risk for 2-year old children exposed to a combination of potential endocrine disruptors from food, consumer products and the indoor environment.

The two Danish surveys show that on a case-by-case basis, the risk of known combined exposures to chemicals can be assessed by use of the concept for dose addition.

Based on the assumptions in the report, it can be concluded that:

  • Most Danish pregnant women are expected to be exposed to a combination of the selected substances, but not at levels that give rise to concern.
  • Some pregnant women can, due to their consumption and behaviour, be exposed to a combination of potential endocrine disruptors in levels that give rise to concern.
  • Combined exposure must be taken into consideration when assessing the risk from exposure to endocrine disruptors.
  • For some pregnant women there is a need to reduce exposure to potential endocrine disruptors from food, indoor environment and consumer products

The survey is the scientific basis for an information campaign directed towards pregnant women and women wanting to become pregnant with the aim to give recommendations on how to minimize the exposure to endocrine disruptors.

More information

Survey:
Summary
Conclusions
Full survey

Campaign materials:
Leaflet: Expecting a baby (in english)
The information campaign webapp can be seen here (in Danish): http://klartilstorken.dk