Banned pesticides found in pregnant US women

A new US study has shown that pregnant women often have high levels of potentially dangerous chemicals - including some that were banned 40 years ago.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, there are a number of banned chemicals that appear to be making it into the food chain, including the extremely controversial and illegal pesticide DDT.

However, the research was designed to look at the sheer number of manmade chemicals that make it into women's bodies - chemicals which have the potential to harm unborn babies - not their adverse effects.

"The health risks for mother and child associated with exposure to this many chemicals at detectable – and sometimes high – levels is not known," the researchers claimed.

However they added that during the prenatal period, any dangers posed by the compounds could be exacerbated.

The researchers identified a total of 163 manmade chemicals prevalent in pregnant US women, including phenols, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), phthalates, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and perchlorate.