Pregnant Mothers’ Exposure to Hairspray Increases Risk of Hypospadias, a Common Male Birth Defect

Sep 2, 2009 by

Pregnant Mothers’ Exposure to Hairspray Increases Risk of Hypospadias, a Common Male Birth Defect

The modern world we live in today is quite literally a minefield of dangerous toxins and chemicals, none more so than for a pregnant mother. Fetuses, together with infants and other young children, are especially susceptible to such harmful substances, partly because they are still in a developmental phase, and partly because of their relatively lower body weight (which increases the impact of the chemicals).

Recent research has linked pregnant ladies’ exposure to hairspray to an increased risk of hypospadias, a common genital birth defect in boys.

Hairspray Exposure in Pregnant Women Increases Risk of Common Birth Defect in Boys

by Reuben Chow

In a groundbreaking study, research recently published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives has revealed that pregnant women who are exposed to hairspray while at work have more than double the risk of giving birth to a son with hypospadias, a common genital birth defect.

About Hypospadias

Hypospadias, a condition whereby there is displacement of the urinary opening to the underside of the penis, is one of the most common birth defects to affect the male genitals. It is estimated that, in the United States and the United Kingdom, hypospadias hits about 1 in every 250 boys.

Typically, the condition can be treated using surgery after the child turns one, although serious cases of the disease can cause problems with urination, sex and fertility. As of now, the causes of hypospadias are not well understood.

Details of Study

In the said study, which was jointly conducted by the Imperial College in London, University College Cork and the Centre for Research in Environment Epidemiology in Barcelona, researchers conducted detailed interviews via telephone with 471 mothers across London whose sons had hypospadias. For the control group, interviews were also carried out with 490 mothers whose sons were not affected by the condition. A range of dietary and lifestyle factors were looked at, including occupation, family history of the condition, type of diet, smoking, intake of folate supplements as well as possible exposure to chemicals.

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