Wearing perfume during pregnancy could cause brain development issues, finds study
"My advice would be for pregnant women to avoid plastic, avoid heating thing with plastics and avoid fragrances and air fresheners."
Perfume could soon be added to the list of things that expectant mums are warned to steer clear of, if the results of a recent study are anything to go by.
New research has shown that a chemical present in perfume is linked with brain development issues.
A team at the University of Illinois exposed a number of pregnant and nursing mice to phthalates, a chemical commonly found in things like common household plastics and perfumes.
The offspring of the mice in the experiment that had been exposed to the chemical were shown to have weaker cognitive development than the others, reports The Daily Mail.
Psychologist Dr Janice Juraska had previously looked at how hormones affect the brain and behaviour.
Based on her research, she and her colleagues added phthalates to cookies which they baked and fed to a portion of the rodents in the study during and after pregnancy.
They then monitored the offspring for a year afterwards.
The baby mice whose mothers had eaten the cookies were shown to be cognitively slower in tests like mazes after 90 days. The mothers were not affected.
"I was surprised by the magnitude," Dr Juraska said.
"I thought there would be an effect, but I was surprised by the magnitude.'
Based on these findings, published in the journal JNeurosi, she said she would strongly urge pregnant women to avoid using perfume and plastics.
"We pay a price for the convenience of modern life. We need to work out when the price is too high.
"My advice would be for pregnant women to avoid plastic, avoid heating thing with plastics and avoid fragrances and air fresheners.
"Unscented everything is just better, because fragrances often contain these chemicals."