Sunday, July 18, 2010

10 Easy Ways To Lower Toxic Consumption During Pregnancy

A study was recently done by the Environmental Working Group on umbilical cord blood. In a study group of 10 infants, researchers from 2 laboratories found 287 different chemicals and toxins were found in the cord blood.  This came to an average of 200 chemicals per baby.
And they only tested for 413 toxins out of the thousands that are out there.

Of the chemicals found in umbilical cord blood
  • 28 were waste by-products
  • 47 were from consumer products (teflon, stain repellents, etc.)
  • 212 different industrial chemicals and pesticides that were banned over 30 years ago!
  • Check out the video where Ken Cook from the EWG explains what all this means. (it’s about 20 minutes long)
With all that scary info, how do we protect the babies we carry, along with protecting our own bodies?

10 Easy Ways To Lower Toxic Consumption During Pregnancy

  1. Use Natural cleaners in your home. Ever wonder why conventional products don’t list all the ingredients? We probably wouldn’t buy them if we saw them! Conventional cleaners can contain many different chemicals, scents, and even formaldehyde. 
  2. Dust and Vacuum your home often. Toxins from the air actually get trapped in the dust, which then lands on your furniture, etc. So try and vacuum and dust once a week and don’t forget to clean off the return air vents and baseboards!
  3. Use a BPA free water bottle. BPA (Bisphenol-A) is an endocrine (hormone) disruptor and can effect not only your hormones, but those of your baby. With a developing reproductive system, this can be quite detrimental. Use real glasses at home and if you need a water bottle for when you’re out and about, try something like Klean Kanteen stainless steel bottles.
  4. Don’t use teflon pans. Within just a few minutes of heating, it can get hot enough to emit toxic gases. And if you’re like me, you use them until they are so scratched there isn’t any Teflon left! But throw any scratched pans away! If the gases are toxic I can’t imagine how bad it is to actually eat it! Try to replace them with stainless steel or cast iron pans.
  5. Be careful with all plastics. Especially for food storage. BPA, Phthalates, and PVC in plastics can degrade and enter into your food. Fatty foods quicken this process and absorb more. Try replacing your Tupperware with glass storage containers. If you must use plastic, make sure foods are cooled before placing them in the container and never reheat the food in the plastic.
  6. Use natural skin care products. Your skin is actually your largest organ and absorbs much of what we place on it. Conventional products are loaded with phthalates, dyes, perfumes, and chemicals. Alternatives are available
  7. Use plants to filter your air. Our indoor air quality seems to get worse as the years go by. Our homes are full of cabinets that have formaldehyde in them, we use glue that emits toxins for our flooring and now a days PVC seems to be everywhere from windows to shower curtains. While we all can’t afford to “green” our houses completely, we can “green” them up with some plants. Houseplants can actually help remove toxins like ammonia, formaldehyde, and even benzene. The top five listed by include peace lily, (although this plant may be mildly toxic when ingested -so a no-no around pets and babies!) bamboo palm, English ivy (supposed to be the best at removing formeldahyde, though I don’t know how to plant ivy inside!), mums, and Gerbera daisies. Other plants I have heard work well are aloe vera, spider plants, and Chinese evergreen. So put some plants around your house – especially in the bedrooms where you spend so much of your time!
  8. Buy organic food whenever possible. Especially fruits and vegetables that are regularly sprayed with pesticides. Pesticides work by either attacking a bugs nervous system or the reproductive system. Do you really want to subject your baby to even a small amount of these toxins? Organic foods are expensive, so when you need to make the choice between organic or conventional when you’re shopping, try to at least buy organic foods that have thin peels (apples, peaches, strawberries, etc.) and buy things like oranges and bananas (with thick skins) conventionally. Check out this HGM article on 10 produce items you’re better off buying organic.
  9. Stay away from smokers and smoke-y businesses. What you breath, your baby breaths too! Do your best to stay away from cigarette smoke as it is filled with multiple toxins. These toxins can affect babies developing nervous system as well as set them up for a greater risk of allergies as they grow up.
  10. Exercise. How does this help with the toxic load your body carries? Well, toxins are stored in fat cells. So the more fat cells you have, the more toxins you carry as well. Now exercise during pregnancy isn’t always an easy thing, but try going for a walk once in awhile and make sure you’re eating good, whole foods and not junk food, so as not to add on extra “fat weight” but good healthy baby weight.
Decreasing our toxic load may take just a bit more time and thought, but it’s so very worth it in the long run!

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