News from ISGlobal
Exposure to certain chemicals could be associated with a decrease in blood pressure during pregnancy. This is one of the main conclusions of a study led by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal).
Hypertensive disorders during pregnancy are one of the main causes of maternal and child mortality and morbidity. Exposure to environmental chemicals is suspected to increase the risk of high blood pressure, but few studies have addressed the effect of non-persistent chemicals – those that linger only for a brief period into the body -, particularly among pregnant women.
This study, which is part of the HELIX project, followed 152 pregnant women from Barcelona (Spain), Grenoble (France) and Oslo (Norway).
The results show that "a higher exposure to some phthalates, BPA and parabens were associated with a decrease in blood pressure, both systolic and diastolic, particularly in the second trimester", explains Charline Warembourg, ISGlobal researcher and first author of the study. No association was found for pesticide exposure.
"Our findings do not support the hypothesis suggested by previous studies of a hypertensive effect of phthalates, phenols or pesticides during pregnancy", concludes Maribel Casas, ISGlobal researcher and study coordinator. “This apparent contradiction with studies in non-pregnant populations may reflect physiological changes that occur during pregnancy and modify blood pressure”, she adds. Thus, non-persistent chemicals could actually enhance the decrease in blood pressure frequently observed in the first mid of the pregnancy. Another possible explanation is that “the study did not cover the late pregnancy period, which is at risk for onset of hypertensive disorders”, said Warembourg.
Warembourg C, Basagaña X, Seminati C, de Bont J, Granum B, Lyon-Caen S, Manzano-Salgado CB, Pin I, Sakhi AK, Siroux V, Slama R, Urquiza J, Vrijheid M, Thomsen C, Casas M. Exposure to phthalate metabolites, phenols and organophosphate pesticide metabolites and blood pressure during pregnancy. Int J Hyg Environ Health. 2018 Dec 27. pii: S1438-4639(18)30659-X. doi: 10.1016/j.ijheh.2018.12.011.