RIVERSIDE, Calif. Pregnant women regularly consume food and beverages containing toxins believed to pose potential risks to developing fetuses, according to researchers at the University of California in Riverside and San Diego, suggesting that health care providers must do more to counsel their patients about the dangers of hidden toxins in the food supply.
In a peer-reviewed study published in the July issue of Nutrition Journal "Consumption habits of pregnant women and implications for developmental biology: a survey of predominantly Hispanic women in California" a team of psychologists from UC Riverside and UC San Diego found that the diets of pregnant Hispanic women included tuna, salmon, canned foods, tap water, caffeine, alcohol and over-the-counter medications that contain substances known to cause birth defects.
The study is unique in that it highlights the unseen dangers of consuming toxins in food and beverages that are not typically thought of as unhealthy for a fetus, said Sarah Santiago, a Ph.D. student in psychology at UCR and the paper's lead author. It also contributes to the body of literature aimed at assessing dietary habits of both Hispanic and non-Hispanic pregnant women.
"Unlike alcohol and nicotine, which carry a certain stigma along with surgeon general warnings on the packaging, tuna, canned foods, caffeine, and a handful of other foods and beverages with associated developmental effects are not typically thought of as unsafe," Santiago explained. "Hopefully, this study will encourage health care providers to keep pregnant women well informed as to the possible dangers of unhealthy consumption habits."
The research team Santiago; Kelly Huffman, assistant professor of psychology at UC Riverside; and UCSD undergraduate student Grace Park surveyed 200 pregnant or recently pregnant women at a private medical group in Downey, Calif., between December 2011 and December 2012. The women ranged i
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University of California - Riverside