Chemicals in food packaging could increase the risk of miscarriage. Exposure to phthalates — chemicals used in food packaging and personal care products — has been linked to miscarriage in the first trimester among 300 women who were part of the first epidemiological study on non-work-related exposure to phthalates to provide evidence for the possible link among a general population, according to the Economic Times.

During the study, published in Environmental Science and Technology, it was found that women who suffered a miscarriage had higher levels of phthalate metabolites in their urine samples from diethyl phthalate (DEP), diisobutyl phthalate (DiBP) and di-n-butyl phthalate (DnBP), reported Science World Report.

The researchers tested urine samples from 132 women who had miscarriages and compared these to 172 healthy pregnant women in China, reported the Food Packaging Forum.

"Our study found that the levels of phthalates in the women who underwent miscarriage were statistically significantly high, and the risk of clinical pregnancy loss was associated with urinary concentration of phthalate metabolites," said Dr. Jianying Hu of the Laboratory for Earth Surface Processes at Peking University's College of Urban and Environmental Sciences in Beijing, in an interview with

Research has shown that long-term exposure to low levels on phthalates can harm lab animals' health and can increase their risk for pregnancy loss. This has prompted the U.S. to ban the use of six of these substances in products made for young children. But they continue to be used in medical tubes, shampoos, vinyl flooring, paints, soaps and other products.

"Despite the epidemiological and animal studies all indicate phthalates may cause the pregnancy loss, the exact mechanism has not been fully clarified up to date. Since the dysfunction of the maternal endocrinal environment, embryonic quality or invasion of placental trophoblast into uterine tissue and vessels could induce the pregnancy loss, overall mechanism study is necessary," said Hu, according to