There is increasing evidence that environmental pollution has a hazardous effect on the health of pregnant women and the development of the child in uterus. In womb exposure to environmental chemical, toxins have an adverse effect on both childhood and adult. The effect of pollutant has been liked to diseases, including autism, high blood pressure, ADHD, mental disorders, heart disease, and many more.
The pesticides used in agriculture contain oestrogenic endocrine-disrupting chemicals or EDCs which mimic mammalian sex hormone oestradiol and interfere with the development of the baby in the uterus. EDCs advances puberty in humans and alter their reproductive functioning by a genital abnormality in boys and early sexual maturation in girls.
The literature on human health categorizes the most studied environmental toxicant are heavy metals, mercury, air pollutant, water pollutant, pesticides, and arsenic. These environmental toxicants may adversely affect the birth weight of an unborn child by resulting in low birth weight, preterm birth, birth defects, and intrauterine growth restriction. There are growing works of literature on the effect of chemicals such as bisphenyl A, phalates and perchlorates about their ubiquitous nature and endocrine disruptors. Consuming fish in pregnancy may increase the risk of exposure to mercury which is potentially hazardous at any stage of developing a fetus. According to the scientific studies done so far on the effect of exposure to environmental toxicant to pregnant women are listed below.
1. Exposure to Environmental toxicant such as air pollutant in pregnant women may increase the risk of preterm delivery or low birth weight.
2. Children of 0- 5 years old have more chances of being asthmatic who has encounter perinatal exposure to air pollution.
3. Harvard school of public health conducted a study and found that there is a connection between exposure to an environmental toxicant in pregnant women and autism.
4. Air pollution can also induce the behavior like OCD obsessive compulsive disorder and ADHD attention deficit hyperactivity disorder etc in the child when women had one through exposure to air pollutant during pregnancy.
5. There are sever cases in which environmental toxins can lead to sudden infant death syndrome SIDS or stillbirths.
6. Toxicant such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons or PAH’s can also adversely affect the intelligence of baby right from the womb
The question arises to us is how to fight or reduce the adverse effect of environmental toxicant in pregnant women. Giving thought to the reduction of exposure to the environmental toxicant three general approaches can be helpful to us.
1. The source of toxicant should be targeted and strategies should be prepared to reduce exposure of targeted sites to pregnant women.
2. Identification of environmental toxicant present in our communities should be considered as the second approach.
3. The third approach is communication with the pregnant women present in our communities and discussing the effect of environmental toxicant on both their fetus and themselves.