Healthy Home

Mamas on Bedrest: Is Your Baby Pre-Polluted?

September 19th, 2011

What the *&^%??

This was my first response when I first saw a slide at the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals 2011 Meeting this past weekend in Las Vegas stating, “Many of our babies arrive pre-polluted”. Leading public health clinicians and researchers presented data and information on how our environment is affecting our health, our reproductive health in particular.

Patrice Sutton, MPH, Research Scientist at UCSF explained in her talk that 43 environmental toxins are found in virtually every pregnant woman in the United States. As a result, as many as 13 chemicals can be detected in the cord blood of a newborn. She added,  the timing of exposure matters.  Many mamas are exposed to toxins while they are pregnant, especially early on when they don’t know they are pregnant  and as a result, their babies are likewise exposed (and potentially affected). She counsels clinicians to adopt counseling recommendations based on toxicity, patient exposure, patient values and patient vulnerability. At all times, she recommends advocating for safer alternatives, however, made mention that this is not always possible (For example, while organic produce and meats would be recommended, many times they are cost prohibitive to patients). Sutton suggests that we all voice our opposition to the fact that patient safety is not widely available to every patient!

Charlotte Brody, Director of Chemicals, Public Health and Green Chemistry for Blue Green Alliance stressed that we can make a difference in our environmental toxins. She explained that environmental toxins are creating another source of hormones for all of us in addition to the hormones that our bodies produce. These external hormones are in large part responsible for the lowering of the age of puberty in our children and many illness in the general public. While the federal government has promised to make more stringent regulations for manufacturers, the fact of the matter is that regulation for chemical production has not changed since the mid 1970’s. As such, if we are waiting for our government to do something, especially in this political partisan climate of no jobs and downward spiraling economy, we will continue to wait.

Several States have begun their own regulatory processes. Since 2003, 18 states have passed 80 chemical safety laws with bipartisan support. Many corporations have also begun to regulate themselves. Walmart has adopted a chemical policy. Using GreenWercs, Walmart has committed to stocking and selling only green products. To date, they have screened more than 150,000 consumer products. Additionally, SC Johnson has adopted their own Green and Red list of ingredients. They are including more green ingredients and limiting or omitting altogether red list products. The Environmental Work Group (EWG) has a compaign for safe cosmetics which advocates for products that don’t contain toxic chemicals an potentially harmful hormones. They are also pushing for passage of the Safe Chemicals Act by the FDA so that instead of the FDA being burdened with proving that a chemical causes harm, manufacturers would have to prove that their products (and the chemicals which they contain) are safe. Brody concluded her talk with an important note.

The benefits of a green chemical industry in the United States would renew manufacturing jobs while protecting the health of our citizens and our environment.

Moderator Sandy Worthington, MSN, WHNP-C, CNM  from the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Jane Houlihan, MS from the Environmental Working Group stressed the impact and prevalence of environmental toxins in our homes. Both offered practical tips on how to lower exposures. Equally important, both reiterated the need for more consumer education and widely available information.

For much of the information that they covered in their lectures, see our blog posts on The Healthy Home featuring the New York Times Best Seller, The Healthy Home by Dr. Myron Wentz and his son Dave Wentz. The Healthy Home is available in our Store in the Healthy Living Section.

What are your thoughts? What are your concerns? Share them below in our comments section for a free copy of The Healthy Home By Dr. Myron Wentz and Dave Wentz. “Like Us” on Facebook and follow us on Twitter, @mamasonbedrest.

Mamas on Bedrest: What Freedoms Do You Desire?

July 3rd, 2011

My friend Maddy wrote an awesome blog post in honor of The 4th of July. She posed this question,

“What do you want independence from? Or I really prefer to ask… what kind of FREEDOM do you desire?”

She then proceeded to list her desires for herself, her family and her ife.

I pondered her question and posted my desires in the comments to the post. This is what I desire for myself and my family:

  • I want to live where ever I want in the world.
  • I desire to create a warm, comforting home for my family and a haven for loved ones to visit and to always be welcome.
  • I desire to do work that I love, to create a career that not only satisfies my intellecutal needs but also provides financial stability, abundance, independence and freedom so that I can support myself and my children comfortably.
  • I desire to choose healthy, nutrient dense foods, healthful supplements and integrative health care to maintain a healthy, strong body.
  • I desire to engage in regular, health enhancing exercise such as cycling, NIA dance, yoga and strength training.
  • Finally, and most importantly to me, I desire the freedom to love with reckless abandon, wholeheartedly and  free from judgement.

What do other mamas, mamas on bedrest in particular, desire for themselves, their families and specifically for their yet to be born babies?

If you have never considered your deepest heart’s desires, I encourage you to take some time and do so now. What do you want for yourself?  What is your vision for your life? What do you want for your baby? Start a desire journal and write your desires down. Writing down your desires helps to speed them to you. So don’t delay.

Please share your desires in the comments section below.

Mamas on Bedrest: Pediatricians call for stricter laws on toxic chemicals

April 26th, 2011

In a policy statement issued on April 25, 2011, The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) declared that the U.S. needs to do a better job protecting children and pregnant women from toxic chemicals.

The group says children’s developing brains and bodies are far more vulnerable than adults’ to toxins and is requesting that the Toxic Substance Control Act, first penned in 1976, be updated .The pediatrics group is the latest of a growing number of medical organizations — including the American Medical Association, American Nurses Association and American Public Health Association— to call for changes in the way that the government regulates dangerous chemicals.

As currently set up, the Toxic Substance Control Act relies on chemical manufacturers to raise concerns about their products and to test for product safety.

“That law treats chemicals as “innocent until proven guilty,” which puts the burden on the government to prove something is harmful,”  says pediatrician Harvey Karp, a longtime environmental advocate who was not involved in the new policy. And unlike the system for guaranteeing the safety of pharmaceutical drugs or substances added to food, the Toxic Substance Control Act limits federal officials from ordering testing or banning industrial chemicals. Although companies are required to notify the EPA about new chemicals, they aren’t require to test chemicals for safety. Only about 15% of these notifications include health or safety test data, according to the Government Accountability Office.

The AAP is requesting that before chemicals are allowed to be sold, they should be tested to consider how they can affect children and pregnant women.

Among the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations:

— The consequences of chemical use on children and their families should be “a core component” of the new chemical policy.

— Chemicals should meet standards similar to those required for new drugs or pesticides.

— Decisions to ban chemicals should be based on reasonable levels of concern, rather than demonstrated harm.

— The health effects of chemicals should be monitored after they are on the market, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency should have the authority to remove a chemical from the market if it’s deemed dangerous.

Many children’s advocates say they’re concerned that toxic exposures could be fueling the recent rise in early puberty in girls and a variety of chronic diseases, such as autism, allergies, asthma and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD.

Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., has introduced legislation to update the regulation of toxic chemicals four times. His most recent effort, the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011, was introduced this month. Some children’s advocates say they are more hopeful this time, because the chemical industry now supports changing the law.

Here is a short list of toxic chemicals particularly hazardous to children.

BPA – Bisphenol A. BPA is a building block of a lightweight, clear, heat-resistant and almost unbreakable plastic called polycarbonate. It’s also used in epoxy resins. It is found in water bottles, baby bottles, reusable food containers, plastic tableware, infant feeding cups, linings of infant formula cans and other cans, jar lids, CDs, electrical and electronic equipment, dental sealants.

Phthalates– This family of chemicals softens plastics. They also are used to bind chemicals together. They are found in Shampoos, conditioners, body sprays, hair sprays, perfumes, colognes, soap, nail polish, shower curtains, medical tubing, IV bags, vinyl flooring and wall coverings, food packaging and coatings on time-release pharmaceuticals and are absorbed through the skin.

PFOA — Perfluorooctanoic acid (also called C8). PFOA is used to make Teflon and thousands of other nonstick and stain- and water-repellent products.  PFOA is present in Teflon and other nonstick or stain- and water-repellent coatings as a trace impurity. These coatings are used on cookware, waterproof breathable clothing, furniture and carpets and in a myriad of industrial applications. PFOA can also be produced by the breakdown of these products.

Formaldehyde – Formaldehyde is an ingredient in resins that act as a glue in the manufacture of pressed wood products. formaldehyde can be found in pressed wood products such as particle board, plywood, paneling and fiberboard; also, glues and adhesives and durable press fabrics like drapes. A carcinogen.

Asbestos. Linked to lung cancers and lung disease. Still found in many products, from brake pads to some kinds of cement.

Hexane. Linked to nerve damage. A solvent in craft paints, spray glues, stain removers.

Hexavalent chromium. Linked to several kinds of cancers. Found in soil, water.

Methylene chloride. Can cause poisonings and death. Found in wood-floor cleaners, water repellents, spray shoe polish.

Flame retardants. Linked to altered brain development resulting in loss of IQ points; some linked to cancer. Used in polyurethane foam in couches, nursing pillows and strollers. Flame retardants used to be used in children’s pajamas. If you have older or “hand me downs” check for flame retardants on the fabrics.

Tricholoroethylene. Linked to cancer in animals and birth defects. Used in rug cleaners and spot removers.

Vinyl chloride. Linked to liver disease in animals. Used in polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, and in flooring, car interiors and children’s toys.

This list is in no way exhaustive, but merely shows what in our normal, everyday life we are being exposed to. If you want to know how you can reduce your exposure, we highly recommend reading The Healthy Home by Dr. Myron Wentz and Dave Wentz. If you would like a free copy of the book, simply post a comment to this blog stating how toxins have affected you or your family and/or how you are making changes to live in a less toxic environment.

If you want to discuss how you can make your home less toxic, sign up for a Complimentary 30 minute Bedrest Breakthrough Session. In this session we’ll focus on how you can take simple steps to have a healthier, less toxic home.


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