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Perfumes, plastic containers inflict long-term damage on unborn child’s brain development


Pregnant women who heat up food in plastic containers and wear perfume may be inflicting long-term damage on their unborn child’s brain development, a new study on rats suggests.

A team at the University of Illinois, baked cookies laced with phthalates, chemicals used in plastic and fragrances which are known to affect the way our hormones work.

They fed the cookies to pregnant and nursing mice – and found that, when their offspring reached adulthood, they were not as cognitively sharp as their peers who weren’t exposed to the chemicals.

Lead author Dr. Janice Juraska, a professor of psychology in the neuroscience department, told Daily Mail Online she was shocked by how clear the impact was, and said she would now urge pregnant women to avoid plastics and fragrances of any kind.


“We pay a price for the convenience of modern life. We need to work out when the price is too high,” Juraska said.

Juraska, who has spent decades looking at how hormones affect our brain development and behavior, teamed up with her colleague Dr. Susan Schantz who studies endocrine disruptors in modern products. Schantz collected urine samples from local pregnant women to determine what kind of chemicals they – and their fetus – had been exposed to.

These findings were used to design the cookies for the new study, published Tuesday in the journal JNeurosi. The team fed these cookies to a group of pregnant females rats on a daily basis throughout their gestation and for 10 days after they gave birth.

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