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Maternal Smoking and Exposure to PCB Chemical Linked to Low Birth Weight

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Maternal Smoking and Exposure to PCB Chemical Linked to Low Birth Weight

March 24, 2017 - Women who were exposed to higher levels of a toxic byproduct of a common PCB chemical and who also smoked during pregnancy had babies with significantly lower birth weight, according to a new study from the Public Health Institute published in the journal Reproductive Toxicology. This is the first-ever human study on the impacts of exposure to PCB byproducts—known as hydroxylated polychlorinated biphenyls (OH-PCBs)—during pregnancy.

“This study provides direct evidence that some of the impact of smoking is enhanced by co-exposure to this industrial chemical,” said one of the study’s authors, Barbara A. Cohn, PhD, of the Public Health Institute’s Child Health and Development Studies in Oakland, CA. “It is proof of the concept that something like smoke exposure and environmental chemicals can work together to create more damage than each could alone.”

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