Friday, January 21, 2011

Toxic Chemicals in Pregnant Women: Is this a surprise to you?

Last Friday, a study was released from the University of California, which found that 100% of the 268 pregnant women they tested all had toxins in their blood and urine.  The researchers were surprised to find that some of the toxins were banned in the US over 40 years ago.  As reported by Fox News, "This highlights the ability of some potentially harmful substances to endure in the environment and the human."
Some of the toxins they found include PCB's.  Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) do not occur in nature and it is completely man-made.  Companies started making PCBs in 1929 and it was banned in the US in 1977 by the Environmental Protection Agency.  According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, “PCBs break down very slowly and can be carried long distances in the air, in rivers, lakes and oceans.  [They] build up over time in the fat of people and animals... [because they] can build-up in the food chain."  This toxin is linked to cancer and other health problems.  This is only one toxin but the researchers found 163 other toxic chemicals in their sample of pregnant women.
Fox News reported that the "researchers are still concerned about fetal harm due to the mothers exposure to multiple chemicals and how they might interact.  Exposure to chemicals during fetal development may increase the risk of preterm birth and birth defects, childhood morbidity, and adult disease and mortality."
This study was published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, but are we really surprised by what they found.  We should not be surprised at all.  We cook our food in non-stick pots and pans that use man-made chemicals.  We wash our eating utensils with chemicals.  We wash our clothes in chemicals.  We moisturize our skin with chemicals. 
I have come to the conclusion that we are addicted to the chemicals that our parents and our grandparents used.  For example, in college I moved into my first apartment, I thought the tub wasn’t clean unless I used Ajax (AJAX® Powder Cleanser), because that is what my mom used.  Neither of us knew that Sodium Dodecyl Benzene Sulfonate, one of the main ingredients was a health hazard.  The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services put this chemical on their hazardous substance fact sheet.  This document states that this chemical can irritate the lungs and cause bronchitis.  The document also states that Sodium Dodecyl Benzene Sulfonate has NOT been tested “for its ability to cause cancer...or [its] affect [on] reproduction.  What also alarmed me was that this document was last modified in 2002. 
The government has to do better than this!  But we have to do better too.  Some of us act as though people who use all natural or organic products are brainwashed and companies are making money off of us while laughing to the bank. Well, I do not know about you but I would rather pay for a product that has ingredients that were NOT man-made and toxic to me or the environment.  In a discussion two years ago, a co-worker said that there are things in natural that is poisonous to us and our pets.  I say yes, but I know better than to pay for poison.  Do you?  Look around your home and see how much poison you paid for. 
I began writing a list of ways to decrease the amount of chemicals in your life but I decided that the “Walking with the Wise” blogger hit the nail on the head in her list:

1.  Eat certified USDA organic certified foods.  This will help limit consuming most genetically modified organisms (GMO’s), high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated/partially hydrogenated oils, artificial colors/flavors, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, irradiation, and synthetic hormones.  Also, seek out local farmers who use natural farming methods…or better yet, grow some food yourself!
2.  Don’t put anything on your skin that you wouldn’t eat.  This means avoiding most conventional skin care and make-up products in the grocery stores. 

3.  Use natural laundry soaps ...and avoid conventional name brand varieties. You can also make your own soaps with borax, baking soda and castille soap.

4.  Stop cooking in the microwave (I have not stopped doing this myself.L)and using non-stick cookware.  Teflon when heated creates a toxic gas and while convenient adds to the environmental body burden.  Use stainless steel, cast iron, glass and stay away from cooking in plastic or using plastic unless it’s BPA (bisphenol A) free.  Never cook in plastic as the petroleum byproducts can still leach into the foods.

5.  Avoid prescription drugs or try weaning off with the help of a physician (stopping cold turkey for many drugs can be dangerous).  Look for natural replacements or nutraceuticals to begin healing the body by not masking symptoms.  Course nothing beats a balanced low-sugar, nutrient dense diet, exercise, sunshine, adequate sleep and low stress for optimal health and prevention of drugs.  Read the others here.

Not preaching, just saying.

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