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International Specialists Warn of Global Toll from Chemical Exposures
In a strongly worded report, a leading international organization of gynecologists and obstetricians warned this week (Oct. 1) that “exposure to toxic environmental chemicals during pregnancy and breastfeeding is ubiquitous and is a threat to healthy human reproduction” worldwide.
The International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics, representing physicians from 125 nations and territories, said it was convening an international conference in Vancouver this weekend to develop a call to action for preventing exposure to environmental chemicals.
“We are drowning our world in untested and unsafe chemicals and the price we are paying in terms of our reproductive health is of serious concern,” said Gian Carlo Di Renzo, a professor at the University of Perugia in Italy and lead author of the report published in the International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics.
The report said prenatal and early childhood exposures to toxic chemicals in the environment are strongly related to health problems that develop throughout life.
It specifically cited the danger of exposure to pesticides, plastics and metals during pregnancy and early years of development, noting they can lead to fertility problems, stillbirths, miscarriages, cancer and neurological conditions.
The report attributed tremendous losses to chemical exposures, including; an estimated 7 million deaths a year due to ambient and household air pollution worldwide; $66 billion in costs related to pesticide poisoning in the Sub-Saharan region; and an estimated $177 billion a year in health costs caused by exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals in Europe. In the United States, childhood diseases linked to toxic chemicals and pollutants in air, food, water and soil cost $76.6 billion in 2008 alone.
EWG applauds FIGO for taking a stance against toxic chemicals and supports its recommendations that “reproductive and other health professionals advocate for policies to prevent exposure to toxic environmental chemicals, work to ensure a healthy food system for all, make environmental health part of health care, and champion environmental justice.”