Women 16-49 at risk of multiple pollutants, which could harm brain development of fetuses and babies

In a recent study, more than half of women of childbearing age had median or higher levels of at least two of three pollutants that could harm brain development. Nearly 23 percent of American women of childbearing age met or exceeded the median blood levels for all three environmental chemical pollutants -- lead, mercury, and PCBs -- tracked in an analysis of data on thousands of women by Brown University researchers. All but 17.3 percent of the women aged 16 to 49 were at or above the median blood level for one or more of these chemicals, which are passed to fetuses through the placenta and to babies through breast milk.

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