SEOUL, Oct. 6 (Korea Bizwire) – Pregnant women in Korea have grown more anxious than ever with widespread media coverage of toxic chemicals used in daily products, on top of deadly cases such as the Oxy humidifier sterilizer scandal.
According to a survey study by obstetricians at Ewha Womans University Medical Center (Mok-dong), 99.2 percent of 128 pregnant participants were found to be feeling anxious over potential exposure to chemical substances from daily activities, a 28.9 percent increase from when they were not pregnant.
Of the respondents, 87.4 percent (multiple response) pointed to “chemical substances may trigger fetus deformities” as the leading reason for their concerns, followed by “potential damage to health (to herself)” (41.7 percent), and “frequent reports of dangers in the media” (33.9 percent).
Bisphenol A, a supposed endocrine-disrupting substance, was found to be the most concerning of the chemicals at 74.8 percent. Following close behind was CMIT/MIT (68.9 percent), which was used in Oxy’s toxic sterilizer.
Other chemicals such as volatile organic compounds (47.9 percent), often found in furniture; mercury (37 percent) in large fish; and lead (26.1 percent) were also cited by the survey participants.
Among the expectant mothers, 85.9 percent made strenuous efforts to avoid exposure to such chemicals, with the survey nothing that 55.1 percent were “using products with no artificial additives, or certified environmentally-friendly,” and 50.4 percent were “regularly ventilating their homes to expel potential chemicals in the air”.
However, medical experts are concerned that excessive wariness or suspicion could lead to stress in pregnant women, potentially affecting fetal health.
In fact, 56.3 percent of the respondents said they found themselves under stress trying to avoid exposure to chemicals.
“It is important that mothers make efforts to avoid toxic substances for both themselves and their fetuses,” said professor Kim Young-ju, who led the study. “But excessive attentiveness can lead to extreme stress, which could harm both the health of the mother and the baby.”
She also added that it is best for mothers to consult a doctor if they’re worried about the health of their unborn child, and emphasized that “it’s most important that expecting mothers practice prenatal care with a peaceful state of mind.”
By Joseph Shin (email@example.com)