Every day, consumers rely on household products that contain hundreds of chemicals. But what are these doing to our unborn children? We expect the federal government to keep families safe by testing chemicals but they are letting us down. And badly.
Toxicity levels in humans are increasingly associated with a range of serious diseases and conditions from childhood cancer, to autism, ADHD, learning disabilities, infertility and birth defects. Yet in spite of our knowledge about the link between chemical exposure and human disease grows, the federal government has almost no authority to protect us from even the most hazardous chemicals on the market.
But wait! Is there some light on the horizon?
One of the most surprising events in our usual and normal eventful stream of news is the feedback from the President’s Cancer Panel. A report was released calling on all Americans to re-think how we confront cancer including much stricter and more rigorous regulations on chemicals. The warning is that otherwise there may be far-reaching consequences for our health.
The report is entitled: “Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk – what we can do now”
Cancers are becoming more common particularly in children and the proliferation of chemicals in water, food, the air and the household products we use is widely suspected as a factor.
But we need to get back to the very essence of human life – our unborn babies
The report says:
“Numerous environmental contaminants can cross the placental barrier; to a disturbing extent, babies are born “pre-polluted”. There is a critical lack of knowledge and appreciation of environmental threats to children’s health and a severe shortage of researchers and clinicians trained in children’s environmental health
The report further found:
“Children are particularly vulnerable because of their smaller bodies and fast physical development
.” They noted rising rates of cancer in children and referred to recent studies that have found industrial chemicals in umbilical-cord blood, which supplies nutrients to developing fetuses.
In their own study, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found nearly 300 chemicals in this umbilical cord blood including BPA, perchlorate, fire retardants, lead, mercury and PCBS.
All parents want to give their babies the very best possible start in life and if this is now how we bring newborn babies into the world, how can we even start to give them a fair chance at good health for the rest of their lives?
What can we do while we wait?
While we wait for this report from the President’s Cancer Panel to metamorphoses from words to action, we can:
- There is a campaign by the EWG to gather support for the new Kid Safe Chemicals Act. The nation’s toxic chemical regulatory act, the Toxic Substances Control Act, is in drastic need of reform as it was passed in 1976 and has never been amended or updated. The USA is behind the times as Europe has already passed its own REACH legislation which mandates replacing some 2000 known toxic chemicals with more benign models.
- When you are pregnant and when your children are small, make sure to choose foods, toys, household and garden products with few endocrine disruptors or other toxins. This site will help you with information.
- If you work in occupations which may expose you to chemicals, ensure you remove your shoes and clothes as well as having a shower when entering your home. The clothes should be washed separately from the rest of the family’s clothing.
- Filter your drinking water.
- Store water in glass or stainless steel containers. If you have to use plastics, make sure they are free of BPA or phthalates. If you have to use a microwave oven, use ceramic or glass containers. In fact, it is much safer if you can avoid microwave ovens altogether.
- Look out for foods grown without the use of pesticides, chemical fertilizers and growth hormones and avoid well done (or charred) meats.
- Check the radon levels in your home. Radon is a natural source of radiation linked to cancer. Check this link for how to test radon levels in your home.
Protecting our unborn babies, our children and of course ourselves from toxic chemicals should become a priority in our lives.
- Use natural safe products for your health, skin and other conditions. Avoid the usual over-the-counter products which are often full of synthetic chemicals.