Today’s expectant mother has to do more than eat healthy and take prenatal vitamins to protect their unseen bundle of joy from harm. Our environment is filled to the brim with a variety of potent and deadly chemicals- and simple actions like bathing, painting, and everyday cleaning can subject your unborn child to toxin exposure. Body Burden Pollution in Newborns, a study conducted by the Environmental Working Group and Commonwealth, tested the umbilical cord blood of ten randomly selected babies born between August and September of 2004. The results were chilling: over 287 different industrial and chemical pollutants were found including brain/nervous system toxins, ones linked to cancer in humans and animals, and ones known to cause birth defects/abnormalities in animal tests.
Every day we are exposed to small amounts of chemicals. Over time, these chemicals accumulate in our blood, fat, breast milk, organ tissue, and other bodily fluids, according to “Confronting Toxic Contamination in Our Communities”, a study sponsored by the Women’s Foundation of California. The U.S. chemical industry is the largest in the world with a 23 % share of the global market. It’s a billion dollar business and as a result, chemicals are everywhere: flame retardants in your car seats and furniture, mercury in food, Teflon and Scotch guard in your cooking utensils, BPA in your plastic, fluorinated chemicals in your fast food packaging, clothes and carpet, parabens in your soap, and genetically modified food toxins in your food. The rising rates of asthma, autism, childhood brain cancer, attention deficit disorder, various neurological diseases, and birth defects can be attributed to the onslaught of chemicals in our environment. Taking the following steps can cut down dramatically on your unborn baby’s exposure to harmful irritants:
• Use only VOC free paints in your home (especially your nursery);
• Replace vinyl shower curtains with organic cotton or hemp curtains;
• Avoid eating and drinking from plastics with BPA, usually number 2 or 4;
• Purchase eco-friendly sustainably made furniture;
• Use only stainless steel, glass, ceramic, or cast iron cookware;
• Eat a 100% organic diet;
• Replace your mattress with one made from natural untreated fibers;
• Avoid toxic household cleaning chemicals, opt for ones made from natural plant ingredients or make your own;
• Replace carpet with wood, bamboo, or even laminate flooring;
• Use personal beauty products free from petroleum, parabens, sodium lauryl sulfates;
• Use natural plant-based laundry detergents and chlorine-free bleach
Even if you can only make a few of the changes on this list- you will be doing your part to provide the best In Utero environment for your expected bundle of joy.