Environmental Toxicant Exposure and Hypertensive Disorders of Pregnancy: Recent Findings
Purpose of Review
To assess the strength of evidence for associations between environmental toxicants and hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, suggest potential biological mechanisms based on animal and in vitro studies, and highlight avenues for future research.
Evidence is strongest for links between persistent chemicals, including lead, cadmium, organochlorine pesticides, and polycyclic biphenyls, and preeclampsia, although associations are sometimes not detectable at low-exposure levels. Results have been inconclusive for bisphenols, phthalates, and organophosphates. Biological pathways may include oxidative stress, epigenetic changes, endocrine disruption, and abnormal placental vascularization. Additional prospective epidemiologic studies beginning in the preconception period and extending postpartum are needed to assess the life course trajectory of environmental exposures and women’s reproductive and cardiovascular health. Future studies should also consider interactions between chemicals and consider nonlinear associations.
These results confirm recommendations by the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Endocrine Society that providers counsel their pregnant patients to limit exposure to environmental toxicants.
KeywordsEndocrine disruptors Environmental exposures Heavy metals Pesticides Bisphenol A Preeclampsia Gestational hypertension
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent
This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.
Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance
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