Toxins, Pesticides and Pregnancy


“Many women are aware that prolonged exposure to harsh chemicals is a no-no during pregnancy. However, many women tend to overlook their very regular exposure to household cleaners. Because we frequently use disinfectants and bleaches in our homes, it is easy to forget that these chemicals can be toxic. And since women are often the main cleaners in their homes, we are the ones who risk the most exposure to these toxins…..

A recent British study published in December 2004 showed a link between exposure to household cleaners during pregnancy and asthma in children. Investigators found that those households that used the most chemical-based based products during pregnancy were two times more likely to have children with asthma. These findings backed up a similar Australian study that was published in August of 2004.” *

You can do something about exposure to hazardous chemical. Here’s more reasons why you should convert your home to safer products:

Did you know

* The United States of America Federal Code of Regulations exempts manufacturers from full labeling of products if used for personal, family or household care. [USA FCR: Section 1910.1200C, Title 29, Section 1500.82 2Q1A]

* Environmental Protection Agency studies have shown that indoor air pollution can be 3 to 70 times higher than outdoors.

* Almost 50% of all illness is due to poor indoor air quality [1989 State of Massachusetts Study]

* According to the National Safety Council, more children under the age of 4 die of accidental household poisonings than are accidentally killed by guns at home

* The EPA conducted a study that found that toxic chemicals in household cleaners are three times more likely to cause cancer than outdoor air pollution.

* Of 2,983 chemicals analyzed that are found in personal care products:
■884 are toxic
■146 can cause tumors
■218 can cause reproductive complications
■778 cause acute toxicity
■314 can cause biological mutations
■376 can cause skin and eye irritations
[Source: United States House of Representatives Report through NIOSH, 1989]

* Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is found in over 90% of personal care products, shampoos, soaps, conditioners, cleansers and toothpastes. It is BANNED in Europe and Canada. It causes hair loss, cataracts, rashes. It has been shown to affects the brain, heart, and liver.

* Ingestion only accounts for about 10% of household poisonings.  The American Association of Poison Control Centers reports at more than 90% of poisoning happens through inhalation and skin absorption at home. Medicines, household cleaners, and pesticides top the list of offenders.

* A study on chemicals used in household products in New Jersey and Massachusetts showed that 28 million pounds of chemicals that are known or suspected neurotoxins, carcinogens, or reproductive or developmental toxicants were used in soaps and other detergents, in those two states alone. Additionally, 259 million pounds of these chemicals were accounted for in specialty cleaners and polishers.

* In an EPA report to the US Congress regarding the Indoor Air Quality Act of 1989, they stated that indoor air quality is one of the nation’s most important environmental health problems.

* Women who work in the home have a 54% higher risk of dying from cancer than women who work outside of the home because of their increased exposure to household chemicals. [Toronto Indoor Air Conference of 1990 from a 15+ year study]

* “Chemicals have replaced bacteria and viruses as the main threat to health. The diseases we are beginning to see as the major causes of death in the latter part of (the 1900’s) and into the 21st century are diseases of chemical origin.” [Dr. Dick Irwin, Toxicologist, Texas A&M University]

* Studies have found over 200 man-made chemicals in the umbilical cord blood of newborn babies. *150 chemicals found in the home have been connected to allergies, birth defects, cancer and psychological disorders. [The Consumer Protection Agency]

* Diseases that used to occur later in life are now appearing at younger ages. Diseases that used to be rare are more frequent. For example:
     ■There has been a 28% increase in childhood cancer since the addition of pesticides into household products.

     ■Cancer is now the #2 killer of children – second only to accidental poisonings. Since 1977 the rate of cancer among American children has been steadily rising at a rate of nearly 1% each year. [National Cancer Institute]

* Some products release contaminants into the air right away, others do so gradually over a period of time. Some stay in the air up to a year. These contaminants, found in many household and personal care products can cause dizziness, nausea, allergic reactions, eye/skin/respiratory tract irritations and some cause cancer. [American Lung Association]

* In 1901, cancer was rare: 1 out of 8,000. Since the Industrial Revolution, the cancer rate today has risen to 1 in 3 and is not improving. [The American Cancer Society]

* In one decade, there has been a 42% increase in asthma (29% for men, 82% for women). The higher rate for women is believed to be due to women’s longer exposure times to household chemicals. [Center for Disease Control]

* Just by reducing (not eliminating) environmental carcinogens alone, we could save at least 50,000 lives taken by cancer annually. [Dr. Lee Davis, former advisor to the Secretary of Health]

Even small doses of neurotoxins, which would be harmless to an adult, can alter a child’s nervous system development. [Environmental Health Perspectives 106 Supplement 3:787-794 (June 1998)]

* Out of 2,435 pesticide poisonings in a one-year period, over 40% were due to exposure to disinfectants and similar cleaning products in the home. [State of California Study]

* Developing cells in children’s bodies are more susceptible to damage than adult cells that have completed development, especially for the central nervous system. During the development of a child, from conception through adolescence, there are particular windows of vulnerability to environmental hazards. Most disturbing – until a child is approximately 13 months of age, they are virtually no ability to fight the biological and neurological effects of toxic chemicals. [Herbert L. Needleman, M.D., Philip J. Landrigan, M.D., Raising Children Toxic Free]

* Today, children have chemical exposures from birth that their parents didn’t have until they were adults. Because children are exposed to toxins at an earlier age than adults, they have more time to develop environmentally triggered diseases, with long latency periods, such as cancer. [Environmental Policy and Children’s Health, Future of Children, Summer/Fall 1995; 5(2): 34-52]

* Household bleaches which claim to disinfect are classified as pesticides under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act. Inadvertently mixing bleach with other cleaners that contain ammonia produces a toxic chloramines gas. These toxic gases can cause coughing, loss of voice, a feeling of burning or suffocation, and even death. [Source: Guide to Hazardous Products Around the Home, Household Hazardous Waste Project, 1989]

* There is an increased risk for leukemia in children where parents have used pesticides in the home or garden before the child’s birth. [Journal of the National Cancer Institute]

* Formaldehyde is a highly toxic substance and one of the most common indoor air pollutants. It is a highly suspected cancer-causing agent. It is an irritant to the eyes, nose, throat and lungs and may cause a wide variety of reactions, including skin reactions, ear infections, headaches, depression, joint pain, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, vomiting, sleep disturbances, and many more. How many of these names would you have recognized as formaldehyde? Manufactures can legally use over 30 different trade names for this chemical. Below are some… ( and for more info on formaldehyde)

■Quaternium-15 (formaldehyde releasing agent)
■Methyl Aldehyde
■Methylene Oxide
■Methylene Glycol
■Formalin 40
■Formic Aldehyde
■denotes trade name

If you are interested in creating a “Greener” home with natural remedies, check out these fantastic alternatives and get started on a healthier pathway today!

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