Environmental toxins

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 Amazon.com 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.