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According to emerging studies, expectant mothers are consistently encountering hazardous chemicals that have been associated with increased cancer risk and potential adverse effects on fetal development. The substances which include cyanuric acid, melamine, and aromatic amines, pervade various aspects of daily life, from hair coloring products and drinking water to dishware, plastics, and even the air we breathe.

Melamine and cyanuric acid disproportionately affects minorities

The presence of melamine and cyanuric acid was found in the majority of participant samples. Particularly, women of color and individuals with higher tobacco exposure showed the highest levels of these chemicals. Additionally, four aromatic amines commonly found in products with dyes or pigments were detected in almost all pregnant participants.

According to researchers, individuals may encounter aromatic amines and melamine through diverse pathways. These include drinking contaminated water, inhaling polluted air, consuming contaminated food, breathing household dust, or utilizing items containing plastic, dyes, and pigment.

Obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive medicine director and UCSF Program director on Reproductive Health Tracey Woodruff said that despite the chemicals being a serious concern because of their connection to developmental toxicity and cancer they are not monitored regularly in the US.

Cyanuric acid and melamine are high production chemicals, with over 100 million pounds produced annually in the US. Simultaneous exposure to the chemicals is more toxic relative to exposure to one. It is important to note that melamine is present in various products such as kitchen counters, dishware, flooring, plastics, and pesticides, while cyanuric acid is used in plastic stabilizers, disinfectants, and pool cleaners. Aromatic amines are found in mascara, hair dye, tattoo ink, tobacco smoke, paint, and diesel exhaust.

Melamine attributed to food poisoning

Melamine has long been known to be a kidney toxicant, gaining attention after incidents of poisoning from baby formula and pet food in 2004, 2007, and 2008. These events resulted in deaths, kidney stone diagnoses, and urinary tract obstructions. Animal studies also suggest that melamine may affect brain function.

Co-senior study author Jessie Buckley expressed concern regarding the high levels of chemicals in individuals of ethnic minorities.