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Lead, Mercury other Pollutants Could Affect Birth Ratios of Boys to Girls

Lead, Mercury, and other Pollutants could be affecting the ratio of boys to girls born each year. The study was published Thursday in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS Computational Biology. Rzhetsky and his colleagues suspect chemical compounds could play a role in terminating pregnancies and that the effects are more pronounced for either girls or boys for unknown reasons.

The authors reviewed data from about half of the U.S. population and everyone in Sweden, suggested common Pollutants like Lead, Mercury affect children before they’re born and have similar effects across large groups of people and on separate continents

Andrey Rzhetsky, a professor of medicine and genetics at the University of Chicago and a lead author on the study, said that the Pollutants could be preventing some pregnancies from coming to term, with imbalances in how they affect each sex. The researchers didn’t see trends in birth ratios by season or temperature. Different chemicals skewed birth ratios, but not in one direction.Rzhetsky said that these variations are statistically significant. They might be small, but it all translates into thousands of premature deaths. If something affects sex ratios, it affects human biology, and it probably has other health effects.

The study examined data for around 150 million Americans for over eight years, as well as the entire population of Sweden for more than 30 decades. Researchers compared medical record data with environmental quality measures, season, and temperature.

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