Exposure to toxic chemicals used in the production of a wide range of household products and other everyday objects could have a negative effect on many people's reproductive health and could be particularly dangerous to pregnant women who are exposed to such chemicals at work, according to a new report jointly released by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM)

Officials from both organizations examined research into the effects of industrial chemicals that individuals are exposed to from water, air, food and everyday objects on reproductive health, as some of them have been linked to miscarriages and birth defects. The analysis concluded that every pregnant American woman is exposed to an average of 43 chemicals to varying degrees although the actual extent to which these chemicals could reach the fetus and make an impact is unclear. But mercury that has accumulated in certain fish can pass through the mother's blood system and damage the baby's developing brain, for instance.

Dr. Jeanne Conry, president of ACOG, said that the measures that pregnant women can take are mostly common-sense — they should consume fresh fruits and vegetables rather than processed foods and make sure that all produce is thoroughly washed. Pregnant women and young children should avoid seafood that may be contaminated with mercury, such as shark, swordfish or king mackerel, she added.