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Toxicants in Human Placentae and Reproductive Outcomes in Ukraine


We have collected data on over 3,000 pregnant women in two urban areas of Ukraine, a former Soviet republic, where pollution is reputedly high; we took placentas and breast milk from 2,200 of them during delivery and hospitalization. We have been analyzing these data and have now published findings on all the pollutants that were studied.

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In general, the toxicants appear at such low levels in this sample, in spite of reports of high pollution, that the effect on reproductive outcomes cannot be addressed. However, we have described the outcome of pregnancy in this population. Sixty percent of all pregnancies were terminated. The rate of preterm birth in our sample is remarkably low, but this is ascribed to the high fetal death rate at low gestational ages, and the high prevalence of prematurity (the preterm rate is computed on live births only). Risk factors for preterm birth have been addressed in the two urban areas, and will continue with an examination of the rate of low birth weight.

Little, Ruth
DHHS/NIH - National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
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