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Report Urges OB/GYNs to Ask Pregnant Women About Exposure to Risky Environmental Chemicals

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WASHINGTON - From mercury to pesticides, Americans are exposed daily to environmental chemicals that could harm reproductive health, the nation's largest groups of obstetricians and fertility specialists said Monday.

The report urges doctors to push for stricter environmental policies to better identify and reduce exposure to chemicals that prove truly risky. But it's likely to scare pregnant women in the meantime.

That's because during the first prenatal visit, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists wants doctors to ask mothers-to-be about their exposure to different chemicals. They're also supposed to teach women how to avoid some considered most worrisome during pregnancy.

"What we're trying to get is the balance between awareness and alarmist," said Dr. Jeanne Conry, president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Specialists with ACOG and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine examined research about industrial chemicals and pollutants that people can absorb from the air, water, food and everyday products. Few chemicals hit the market with good information about safe levels - something the groups hope to change. But certain chemicals are linked to infertility, miscarriages, birth defects and other problems, the committee said.  

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