Could Products You Use Every Day Up Your Risk of Miscarriage?

A new study suggests a link between miscarriage and exposure to phthalates, found in common everyday products and household items.

Woman shampooing her hair
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Some of us who are natural skeptics become even more so during pregnancy, when we scrutinize everything doubly for health and safety when it comes to our bodies and our babies-on-the-way.

A new study suggests that our skepticism may be warranted when it comes to products around our homes. The research, which appears in the American Chemical Society journal Environmental Science & Technology, suggests that exposure to substances found commonly in our food packaging, personal care products, and other everyday household items, could be associated with miscarriage. The substances, called phthalates, were associated with losses most commonly between 5 weeks and 13 weeks of pregnancy.

Because the government was concerned about the safety of phthalates, the U.S. has already banned six from use in products made for young kids. But many still turn up in the likes of paints, soaps, shampoos, and vinyl flooring.

This study was the first to be done on the general population, versus on people who had exposure to the substances through their work. The results may sound scary, but there are a couple of caveats to note: For one thing, the research didn't prove that phthalates cause miscarriage; it only suggested an association that should be further examined. Second, it only analyzed data from about 300 women in China, so that's a very small sample.

Still, it does seem to support the idea that a certain amount of reasonable skepticism about our environment, especially when we're expecting, may be healthy.

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Alesandra Dubin is a mom to one-year-old boy-girl twins. She's also a Los Angeles-based writer and the founder of lifestyle blog Homebody in Motion. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Google+ and Twitter.

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