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Ind. research explores chemical impact on fetuses

– A central Indiana physician is embarking on a study that will explore whether commonly used chemicals can cause premature births, birth defects and other problems in newborns.

Paul Winchester is medical director of neonatal intensive care unit at Franciscan St. Francis Health in Indianapolis. He’s working on his research with Michael Skinner, a professor of molecular biology at Washington State University.

Although nearly all pregnant women in the U.S. test positive for insecticides, pesticides and herbicides, little is known about what impact those chemicals have on developing fetuses.

The new study seeks to determine if women’s exposure to such chemicals can alter their developing fetuses’ genes, contributing to premature births, birth defects and other problems.

The research is being financed by a $295,000 grant from the Gerber Foundation.

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