Newswise — Higher exposure to certain chemicals called phthalates is linked to an increased risk of pregnancy complications, including preeclampsia and eclampsia (PE/E) and other hypertensive or high blood pressure disorders, according to a study funded by the NIH Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes program. Here are the key findings:

  • Doubling the levels of a specific molecule linked to exposure to phthalates found in PVC plastics and insect repellents—mono (3-carboxypropyl) phthalate (MCPP)—increased the odds of developing PE/E by 12% and hypertensive disorders of pregnancy by 2%.
  • Being exposed to higher levels of multiple phthalates increased the odds of PE/E by 27%.
  • Doubling the levels of other molecules (like those related to exposure to phthalates found in some plastics and personal care products) increased the odds of developing PE/E by 8% to 11%.

These risks were generally higher in pregnancies involving female fetuses.

Read a research summary about this study here.