"Medical data continues to link maternal exposure to airborne polycyclie aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) during pregnancy and harmful fetal effects.
An earlier article in this column covered medical research linking maternal exposure to PAHs and subsequent childhood IQ. The study data was clear. The children exposed in the womb to high levels of PAHs had significantly lower IQ scores when they turned 5.
PAHs are chemical compounds that consist of fused aromatic rings. PAHs occur in oil, coal, and tar deposits, and are rendered airborne as byproducts of fossil fuel combustion, including combustion of gasoline and diesel in autos, trucks and other vehicles. PAHs are a common pollutant found airborne in virtually all cities throughout the U.S.
PAHs are of medical concern because some have been identified as carcinogenic, mutagenic, and teratogenic. They are part of a chemical class known as aromatic hydrocarbons. The U.S. government has issued PAH health statements."
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