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Scientists find 42 mystery chemicals in people, whose sources and uses are unknown to science

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Kamal Saini
Kamal S. has been Journalist and Writer for Business, Hardware and Gadgets at Revyuh.com since 2018. He deals with B2b, Funding, Blockchain, Law, IT security, privacy, surveillance, digital self-defense and network policy. As part of his studies of political science, sociology and law, he researched the impact of technology on human coexistence. Email: kamal (at) revyuh (dot) com

A team of researchers, working on the study of pregnant women and their newborns, found 109 chemicals in the human body that includes 42 strange chemicals, whose origins and uses are unknown to science and a list of new 55 chemicals, never detected in people.

According to scientists, these chemicals travel through the bloodstream of pregnant women to their newborns, and consumer goods and other industrial products are the main sources of these chemicals.

The results of the study have been published in Environmental Science & Technology.

“These chemicals have probably been in people for quite some time, but our technology is now helping us to identify more of them,” says Tracey Woodruff, Ph.D., a professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences from UCSF.

“It is alarming that we keep seeing certain chemicals travel from pregnant women to their children, which means these chemicals can be with us for generations,” she added.

With the help of high-resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS), scientists identified 109 chemicals, that are found in the many daily Needs products like 40 are used as plasticizers, 28 in cosmetics, 25 in consumer products, 29 as pharmaceuticals, 23 as pesticides, 3 as flame retardants, and 7 are PFAS compounds, which are used in carpeting, upholstery, and other applications.

The researchers say that 55 of the 109 chemicals they tentatively identified appear not to have been previously reported in people:

  • 1 is used as a pesticide (bis(2,2,6,6-tetramethylpiperidini-4-y) decanedioate)
  • 2 are PFASs (methyl perfluoroundecanoate, most likely used in the manufacturing of non-stick cookware and waterproof fabrics; 2-perfluorodecyl ethanoic acid)
  • 10 are used as plasticizers (e.g. Sumilizer GA 80—used in food packaging, paper plates, small appliances)
  • 2 are used in cosmetics
  • 4 are high production volume (HPV) chemicals
  • 37 have little to no information about their sources or uses (e.g., 1-(1-Acetyl-2,2,6,6-tetramethylpiperidin-4-yl)-3-dodecylpyrrolidine-2,5-dione, used in manufacturing fragrances and paints—this chemical is so little known that there is currently no acronym—and (2R0-7-hydroxy-8-(2-hydroxyethyl)-5-methoxy-2-,3-dihydrochromen-4-one (Acronym: LL-D-253alpha), for which there is limited to no information about its uses or sources

“It’s very concerning that we are unable to identify the uses or sources of so many of these chemicals,” Woodruff explained, adding that “EPA must do a better job of requiring the chemical industry to standardize its reporting of chemical compounds and uses. And they need to use their authority to ensure that we have adequate information to evaluate potential health harms and remove chemicals from the market that pose a risk.”

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