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Public Health Rep. 2009 Sep-Oct;124(5):629-41.

Reducing exposure to environmental toxicants before birth: moving from risk perception to risk reduction.

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Department of Population and Family Health Sciences, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA.


In this study, we considered approaches to reducing maternal exposure to hazardous environmental toxicants, focusing on risk communication to pregnant women and providers, but also considering identification of environmental toxicants in the community and reduction of environmental toxicants. We addressed the following questions: (1) What do pregnant women and their providers know about environmental toxicants and perinatal health? and (2) What policy strategies are needed (should be considered) to move forward in risk reduction in this area? We reviewed the literature on knowledge of pregnant women and providers regarding these issues. While there is limited research on what pregnant women and their providers know about environmental toxicants and perinatal health, there is evidence of reproductive and perinatal toxicity. This article describes a wide range of policy strategies that could be implemented to address environmental toxicants in the context of perinatal health. Effective leadership in this area will likely require collaboration of both environmental health and maternal and child health leaders and organizations.

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