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Pregnant women required to assist in vital research

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

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Edith Cowan University (ECU) Researcher, Dr Andrea Hinwood, is looking for 500 non-smoking pregnant women from Western Australia to participate in a study investigating whether environmental pollutants are significant enough to affect the health of unborn babies.

Current research indicates that a number of persistent toxic substances such as heavy metals and chemicals used in industry and insecticides, can impact on a child's health if the levels are high

This research is funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC) linkage program to study the toxic effects of pollutant and metals found in the environment on the unborn child through monitoring blood and urine samples taken from expecting mothers.

Dr Hinwood says that although research has been carried out in a number of other countries, only a few studies have investigated persistent environmental pollutants and their health effects in Australia.

“We are hoping to determine the levels of persistent toxic chemicals in pregnant women in WA and in particular, if there are any regional differences or differences caused by diet and environmental factors,” she said.

“Urbanisation, industrial development, agriculture and environmental change has seen an increase in the levels of toxic substances and heavy metals in our environment and we need to determine if these levels are high enough to cause ill-health effects”.

The three year study is a collaboration between ECU, the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP), Institute of Child Health Research, National Measurement Institute and the University of Western Australia.

Participants will be required to answer a questionnaire about lifestyle and diet, keep a diet diary and provide a blood, urine as well as  drinking water, soil and dust samples

The results will be used to create a bench mark of information which is currently unknown in Australia. Participants will be contributing vital information to a Global network of research into the environmental effects on maternal and neonatal health”.

For further information or to register your interest please contact Caroline Barton, ECU Research Assistant, Maternal Persistent Toxic Substances Exposure Study on 1800 655 398.

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Corporate Communications
(08) 6304 2131
0402 016 344
pr@ecu.edu.au
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