What To Avoid During Pregnancy: Toxicity In The Home
Most of us learn a lot from our first born. We think we’ve got it all down pat and then the second in line to the throne comes along. They are a completely different ‘kettle of fish’ and we start all over! Well, environmental toxicants are a bit like that. We think we are in good shape and then some new study comes along telling us that what we’ve been doing all along is no longer good for us or our unborn child. Sound familiar? Well, the three quick tips I want to share with you today on reducing environmental toxicants during pregnancy will hold you in good stead for years. Thankfully, there’s plenty of good science around to help in your decision-making. Want to know my top three tips on what to avoid in pregnancy when it comes to toxicity in the home? Read on!
What to avoid during pregnancy – the top 3
1. Unfiltered water
Our drinking water, whether it comes from a town or mains water supply, a bore, or a rainwater tank is most likely contaminated.
Whilst the water that comes out of our kitchen tap is theoretically considered ‘clean’ because chlorine has been added, many other toxic contaminants have also been added unintentionally.
Chlorine, fluoride, micro-plastics, heavy metals and even pharmaceutical drugs are turning up in our drinking water. Many of these are detrimental to a child’s health.
Take the toxic heavy metal lead for example. It is found in our domestic plumbing and breaks down even faster if there is fluoride in your water. It’s been strongly linked to reduced IQ in children but is commonly found in our drinking water, and that of schools and public water fountains too.
Fluoride is a known toxic chemical as well as a neurotoxin. It damages the brain and is linked to ADHD, learning disorders, autism, seizures, etc. To date, 53 studies have found that elevated fluoride exposure is associated with reduced IQ in humans. This recent 12-year long study found a clear link between high fluoride exposure in the urine of pregnant mothers and lower scores on tests of cognitive function in the offspring at 4 and 6-12 years of age.
RELATED: Chlorine Water In Our Homes – The Good, Bad & Ugly Effects
Another very recent study found higher levels of fluoride exposure during pregnancy was associated with ADHD and more symptoms of inattention in the offspring at 6-12 years of age. If you are sitting on the fence on this sometimes controversial topic I’d strongly recommend you take the precautionary approach. If in doubt, filter it out!
Moving onto chlorine. It’s a great water disinfectant killing everything in its path but to protect your newborn’s lungs and skin you really want to remove chlorine or chloramine from your domestic water supply. They are severe skin and lung irritants.
If you have a child with eczema you will notice they are often much worse after getting out of a shower or swimming pool. Check out the water filters I use. They are simple and easy to set up. Most drinking water filters don’t remove fluoride or only a limited amount so you need to watch out for that.
2. Wireless technology
Electromagnetic field radiation, also known as EMF, can disrupt your sleep by affecting melatonin release. Think of it as a light shining on your brain all night.
More seriously than that, many studies show links between EMF radiation and miscarriages, birth defects, autism, attention deficit disorder, neurological dysfunction, hyperactivity, learning disorders, thyroid dysfunction, obesity and childhood asthma etc.
Both prenatal and postnatal exposure to mobile phones is associated with a higher risk for behavioural problems and hyperactivity in children at age seven.
Another landmark study showed an association between high EMF radiation and miscarriage risk. Whilst EMF exposure during pregnancy is also linked to a higher risk of asthma and obesity in offspring.
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When we think of EMF, we usually think of mobile phones but it’s also WiFi routers, iPads, Apple TV, powerlines, fridges, ovens, solar panel inverters, cordless telephones, electrical wiring and baby monitors.
The only way to completely overhaul your home and create an EMF sanctuary is to have your home thoroughly assessed by an EMF expert such as myself.
3. Hormone disruptors in your home
Hormone disruptors take many forms and they are a biggie.
Ninety per cent of the 130 million chemicals registered globally have never been tested for safety or human health effects.
In Australia, only 3% of the 10,000 new chemicals introduced annually are assessed. Many of these chemicals are known as hormone-disrupting chemicals, also known as ‘endocrine disruptors.’
Our endocrine system – thyroid, gonad and adrenal glands produce hormones such as adrenaline, oestrogen and testosterone, all of which are critical for fertility, reproduction, growth and metabolism. These chemicals mimic, block or disrupt our own hormones as they work at tiny doses in the body.
The WHO has stated that hormone-disrupting chemicals are a global public health threat; children and pregnant women being the most vulnerable.
Synthetic fragrances and plastics are two of the key areas to focus on to reduce your exposure.
If you simply removed everything in your home that has an artificial fragrance you will be doing your whole family a massive service. This includes candles, air fresheners, cleaning products, fabric softener, perfumes, skincare, pencil cases, erasers, incense… The list is endless. Although, anything fragranced with genuine pure essential oils is usually OK.
The effects of hormone-disrupting products can be serious and long-term. A recent study showed that children born to women who used endocrine disruptors known as phthalates, commonly found in perfume and cosmetics, had a 6.7 point deficit in IQ, that hadn’t recovered by the age of seven.
Plastics are another culprit. You will likely have heard of BPA (BisPhenol A) the best-known hormone disruptor. A 2011 study found that 96% of pregnant women had BPA in their blood.
BPA came to the fore as it was found many baby bottles were made using polycarbonate, which contains BPA. It has since been mostly removed due to public outcry but glass bottles are a safer bet. Frequently, BPA is simply replaced with another member of the BisPhenol family (BPF, BPS) which are just as bad if not worse. So don’t ever just assume that “BPA-Free” is OK – always find out what the material is actually made from.
Quite simply, it’s just easier to steer away from plastics. Gradually replace them with glass or stainless steel.
Check out this blog to see the many other ways you can make simple changes in your home to remove hormone disruptors.
Where to from here?
Don’t be overwhelmed! Pick one of these areas to start with and once you are comfortable, then move to the next.
If something isn’t clear or you need more clarity, I’m available for online and phone eco consults, so book here and let’s have a chat. I’d love to help.
This blog post contains affiliate links, which means that if you buy one of the products I recommend through a link here, I earn a tiny commission. I only recommend products that I, myself, use. I will never recommend to you something that I haven’t tried and tested! Please feel free to send me a message if you want to know more about any of the products I share on the blog.
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