Scientists at the University of California, San Francisco, in a study of pregnant women found that the human body contains 109 kinds of chemicals, 55 of which have not been found before, including 42 "mysterious chemicals" of unknown origin and function.
These chemicals are likely to come from consumer goods or other industrial sources. They are found in the blood of pregnant women and their newborns, indicating that they are transmitted through the maternal placenta. The study was published in the March 16 issue of the Journal of environmental science and technology.
Tracy Woodruff, Professor of Obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at the University of California, San Francisco, said: "these chemicals may have existed in the human body for a long time, and the latest science and technology are helping us to identify more chemicals."
Tracy, a former EPA scientist, is responsible for the reproductive health and environment program at the University of California, San Francisco, and director of the center for environmental research and disease control (earth).
"It's worrying that we're constantly seeing certain chemicals pass from pregnant women to their children, which means they're going to be with us for generations," she said
It is reported that tens of thousands of chemicals are manufactured or imported into the United States every year, but little is known about the possibility of chemicals entering the human body or how these substances affect human health. Residents are exposed to chemicals to varying degrees by using these drugs and products, or by swallowing contaminated food, drinking contaminated water, or breathing contaminated air and dust. In this latest study, 42 kinds of "mysterious chemicals" with unknown sources and uses were also found in the human body, which is a potential threat to human health in the future.
The scientific research team used high resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS) technology to identify man-made chemicals in the human body. The technology uses the molecular weight of molecules to identify man-made chemicals in the human body. The researchers screened blood samples collected by pregnant women in the San Francisco area to find more chemicals, compared with the previous method, which usually can only target 12 chemicals at a time Substance.
They scanned about 700 chemicals in the current study and found an average of 56 different suspicious chemicals in women's blood, which had not been found before. This new method can screen environmental organic acids, that is, compounds with at least one ionizable proton, and detect the relative abundance of ions in samples. These environmental organic acids are widely used in pesticides and consumer products, such as bisphenol A, methyl p-hydroxybenzoate, triclosan, etc. they have chemical structures similar to hormones, which can cause endocrine disorders, especially dangerous to pregnant women and their developing fetuses, and may even interfere with the normal development of fetuses.
However, although these chemical substances can be preliminarily identified by using the chemical information database, they still need to be confirmed by comparing with the pure chemical substances produced by the manufacturers known as "analytical standards". For some reasons, these manufacturers will not completely provide the corresponding purification substances.
For example, recently, chemical manufacturer Solvay stopped providing a chemical standard for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFAS) compound, which has been used as a substitute for the phase out PFAS compound, and researchers have been using the chemical standard to evaluate the existence and toxicity of the substitute PFAS.
Dimitri panagopoulos abrahanson, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, San Francisco, said that these latest technologies have promising research prospects, allowing us to identify more chemicals in the human body, but our research results show that chemical manufacturers need to provide analytical standards, so that we can identify potential chemicals and assess their toxicity and human harmfulness .
The researchers found 109 chemicals in blood samples of pregnant women and newborns, which may come from different types of products, such as 40 chemicals from plasticizers, 28 from cosmetics, 25 from consumer goods, 29 from drugs, 23 from pesticides, 3 from flame retardants, 7 from perfluorooctanoic acid compounds, which are common in carpets, interior decoration and other applications Use. The chemicals may have other uses, the researchers said.
They pointed out that 55 of the 109 chemicals identified in the preliminary study have not been found in the human body before. They are: one is pesticide chemicals; two are perfluorooctanoic acid chemicals, which are likely to be used in the manufacture of non stick Kitchenware and waterproof fabrics; and 10 are plasticizer chemicals, such as antioxidant GA 80, used in food packaging, paper tray and small household appliances; 2 used in cosmetics; 4 used in high-yield chemicals (HPV); the source and use of 37 chemicals are unknown.
The researchers pointed out that we are unable to determine the use and source of so many chemical substances, which is very worrying. Environmental protection departments must strictly require the actual standardized classification of chemical industry related compound use reports, so as to ensure that we have enough information to assess potential human health hazards and remove those chemicals that pose a threat to human health from the market. "