Pregnant Women’s perceptions of exposure to brominated flame retardants
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BACKGROUND: Recent media reports on human studies associating brominated flame retardants (BFRs) in household products in pregnancy with urogenital anomalies in boys and endocrine disruption in both sexes. We sought to explore the perceptions of pregnant women of brominated flame retardant (BFR) exposure, in light of recent media reports on the adverse health effects of BFR exposure prenatally. METHODS: Pregnant women were recruited for interviews through posters and pamphlets in prenatal clinics, prenatal fairs and community centres. Interviews were audiotaped and transcribed verbatim for Charmaz-based qualitative analysis supported by NVIVO 10™. RESULTS: Theoretical sufficiency was reached after analyzing the interviews of 23 pregnant women. Themes co-constructed were: I-Lack of Awareness of BFRs; II-Factors Influencing BFR Exposure; III-Responsibility; IV-Informed Choice. Almost all participants felt it was difficult to make informed choices to avoid BFRs, and wanted communication from clinicians and regulation from governments regarding decreasing BFR exposure. CONCLUSION: Pregnant women in Canada may be unaware of the potential risks of exposure to BFRs. Professional organizations and governments should further study risk associated with BFR exposure in pregnancy and provide educational materials for pregnant women and clinicians regarding BFR exposure.
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