Provide Doctors with Resources to Discuss Environmental Health with their Patients

Target: Dr. Jeanne Conry, president-elect, American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

Goal: Create guidlines on risks of exposure to household contaminants so doctors can more effectively protect patients

There is mounting evidence of the adverse affects of human exposure to household contaminants, from bisphenol-A and phalates found in plastics, to the pesticides we ingest every day in our foods. But the medical community is behind in its education on this critical issue, with some doctors saying they simply lack the resources or knowledge to be able to discuss the issue comfortably with their patients. These toxic chemicals are particularly harmful to fragile fetal development, yet only a small percentage of doctors inform their pregnant patients of the potential risks of fetal exposure.

In a U.S. Center for Disease Control study monitoring pregnant women, tests of the mothers’ blood and urine yielded significant levels of nearly 100 different harmful chemicals. The chemicals found include lead, mercury, toluene, perchlorate, bisphenol A, flame retardants, perfluorinated compounds, organochlorine pesticides and phthalates. Many of these chemicals are able to cross the placenta and have been linked in numerous studies to the disruption of fetal development, birth defects, and health problems, such as cancer, later in life.

However, in spite of the numbers, Environmental Health News reports that a survey conducted by the University of San Francisco’s Program on Reproductive Health found that few doctors talk to their patients about environmental health. According to the currently unpublished study, only 44 percent of doctors discuss how to avoid mercury, only 19 percent talk about pesticides, and just five and eight percent, respectively, inform their patients of the potential dangers of bisphenol-A and phalates on fetal development.

We can begin to address this serious public health issue by providing doctors with the necessary guidelines and resources to discuss the matter of household chemical exposure with their patients. According to the University of San Francisco survey, 89 percent of doctors thought that guidelines from the American Congress of Obstectrics and Gynecologists would be most helpful mean of gaining the necessary knowledge about environmental toxins to effectively share it with their patients. Sign the Petition below and urge the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists to provide doctors with guidelines and educational resources to help them address the critical matter of environmental health with their patients.


Dear Dr. Jeanne Conry,

As you are aware, there is mounting evidence of the adverse affects of human exposure to household contaminants, found in everything from plastics and cleaning agents, to the very food we eat. These toxins especially impact fragile fetal development. However, only a small percentage of doctors address the threat posed by these chemicals with their pregnant patients. Some doctors have said they simply lack the resources or knowledge to address the subject comfortably.

As president-elect of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, I commend for your recent paper urging greater clinician involvement in the critical area of environmental health. To facilitate this aim, 89 percent of doctors asked in a recent survey conducted by researchers at the University San Francisco said that guidelines provided by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists would be the most helpful means of obtaining the necessary information to discuss environmental health risks with their pregnant patients.

In order to address this critical issue, I urge you to create guidelines and educational resources to help ensure that doctors are properly educated on environmental health and fully able to discuss the matter with their patients.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: paparutzi via Flickr

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One Comment

  1. Hard to understand why our government fails to regulate these dangerous chemical compounds and favors big corporations to produce them.

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