When a pregnant woman is exposed to carcinogenic elements, the fetus in the womb is affected as well. This exposure can cause harm to the baby in the future. Latest research has now unearthed that fact that the risk of exposure varies based on the quantity of exposure and time of exposure, which in other words is the time of pregnancy when exposure takes place.
These carcinogens can cause epigenetic alterations in the cells of the baby, which can in turn manifest into dangerous risks. The biggest threat is that of cancer. The study was carried out by researchers from Linus Pauling Institute, belonging to Oregon State University. Studies were conducted on mice models.
In the study, four different doses of cancer causing elements were injected into the mice that were expecting babies. These carcinogens comprised of the ones that are present in air pollutants. It was found that incidence of ovarian cancers in the mice babies tripled. Cancer was found in the lungs as well of the babies. Another shocking discovery was that baby male mice were diagnosed with the size of testes drastically reduced. This is a condition that has never been witnessed before in any cancer related or non cancer related studies.
These results are in contrast to previous results, which showed a decrease in the incidence of cancer when exposure to the carcinogens was over a period of time. It was also found that this kind of exposure reduced the incidence of liver cancer up to a large extent. According to the lead researcher and a professor of environmental and molecular toxicology from the Oregon State University, more studies have to be conducted in order to ascertain that exact time of pregnancy when fetuses were the most vulnerable to health risks due to exposure to carcinogens. The exact pathway of fetus response to carcinogens is also not known. He also said that since cells multiplication in fetuses in very fast and during the process, there are no detoxifying enzymes for protection, the risks are heightened.
The study also showed that the carcinogens attacked the baby growing in the womb directly. Although the concentration of carcinogens that hit the baby is around 10% of the total carcinogens that attacked the mother, the risks are still very high for the fetus. The results of the study have been collaborated by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, National Institutions of Health and other researchers from Oregon State University. The researchers said that women who are exposed to environmental pollution should consume large amounts of fruits and vegetables in order to detoxify the body.