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Toxins in Utero

Toxins in Utero

Exactly what is the full scope of a mother-to-be’s lifestyle on her unborn child? We’re reminded by our doctors to eat well during pregnancy, avoiding certain food products that, for example, contain mercury or are unpasteurized, in order to protect our babies from potential dangers to their development and health. Women are also encouraged to minimize stress while pregnant in order to keep their babies from marinating in an adrenalin-loaded soup.

The results of a 2004 study by the Environmental Working Group, in collaboration with Commonweal, indicate a need to expand our thinking when it comes to exposures pregnant women introduce to their unborn children. In the report, researchers at two major laboratories found an average of 200 industrial chemicals and pollutants in umbilical cord blood taken from 10 babies. A total of 287 industrial chemicals were found. These pollutants include perfluorochemicals (PFCs) found in carpet, furniture, and stain-proof coatings (e.g. the kind used in Teflon and furniture); Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), the fire retardants in TVs, furniture, and computers; and 21 different pesticides, including 14 that had been phased out of use in the U.S.

This study shows that in addition to carrying vital nutrients to babes in utero, the umbilical cord also carries these toxins, a disruption to the belief, previously held by scientists, that the placenta shielded babies from most chemicals and pollutants. We know that of the 287 chemicals found in cord blood, 217 are toxic to the brain and nervous system, 208 cause birth defects or abnormal development in animal tests, and 180 cause cancer in humans or animals.

What to do? Well, none of us can become the mom in the non-plastic bubble, but we can greatly reduce our exposure to numerous toxins by becoming informed and responsible consumers and world citizens. Read labels, learn what those ingredients are, choose products that are organic or as natural as possible, including home cleaning supplies, cosmetics, personal grooming products, clothing and home furnishings. Reduce the toxic load you ingest by eating food grown locally without pesticides. Learn how to improve the quality of the indoor air you’re breathing.

Green living isn’t about being trendy; it’s about living in a way that supports the health of our own bodies, the planet, and those we love, thereby reducing the toxic “body burden” on all of us.

Read more: Babies, Family, Obstetrics, Pregnancy, Women's Health, , , , , , , , , ,

By Terri Hall-Jackson, Care2 contributing writer

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Terri Hall

Terri Hall lives in the Hudson Valley with her family. In addition to writing, Terri works with public television and radio stations/networks in the area of new media, and leads workshops on authentic and empowered living.

10 comments

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11:08AM PST on Nov 14, 2012

thanks

7:31PM PST on Feb 24, 2012

scary

5:46PM PST on Mar 10, 2010

thanks for the information

3:07AM PST on Dec 18, 2008

My General Practitioner diagnosed my concerns about Mercury Toxicity as a mild, fixed, delusion and referred me to a psychiatrist!! It is so encouraging to see at last that other people are becoming aware of the dangers. We can not all be deluded surely. In the mean time I expressed myself by writing a song and felt better .
If only one more person hears about the dangers it may help prevent future problems. For me the medical route is not going to work. I think we have to speak out,sing out, write about and broadcast about this danger. It seems that it could be responsible for such a great deal of ill health and distress and it can be fixed for the future.

7:16PM PST on Dec 17, 2008

Great comments have been made already, and I would like to add my voice re the mercury (Hg) issue. I was diagnosed as being mercury toxic, even after having 12 'silver' amalgam fillings removed and replaced (by a knowledgeable dentist using appropriate precautions). The so called 'silver' fillings contain 50% mercury (the most toxic metal known), which leaches into all parts of the body. Thus an expectant mother passes her mercury on to her baby--as does the father (via his sperm) if he has 'silver' fillings, etc. How I wished i'd known this before we had children!
My physician and other care providers have told me that mercury remains stubbornly in place and can never be completly eliminated. However, I feel I have my life back after going through 2 years of Hg and heavy metal detox. Have spent a fortune having the fillings replaced, going through detox and buying supplements and organic foods. However, I'd rather pay for my health now, than with my health later!!!
Many countries have banned 'silver' amalgam fillings as have some states.
The mercury in our body wastes also contaminates water systems, and thus the life in those waters.
I hope you know that the Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL's), that are beig pushed now for energy efficiency (and all fluorescent tubes) contain mercury. This warning is not on their labels. Broken bulbs/tubes need to be treated as toxic waste and the surrounding air is contaminated and toxic!

11:08AM PST on Dec 17, 2008

There is more we can do. We can become activists. Instead of only cleaning up our own bodies, which the wealthy can and should do. We need to demand that our government and the polluters (both toxic chemical producers and emitters) clean up this mess that they have allowed or caused. We can't just sit back while our planet goes further and further down the path of destruction and our bodies get so polluted that they can't survive and our future generations can't grow and develop without impairments. Cancer, childhood disorders, autoimmune disorders are all influenced by environmental factors, we must understand and act on this reality.

Demand clean air, water and food. Join an environmental activist group and tell your friends to join. If we don't do it, no one else will. And we bear a greater burden in the industrialized nations. We can't expect the ultra-poor to do more when they are just struggling to survive.

Consider this: If the public had been made aware that allowing mercury emitting power plants would have caused us never to be able to eat fish, would we have gone along with this? What about pesticides in food? The point is that we were never asked and now have to deal with all the problems that have arised as a result. We need to get involved now, and prevent further damage.

Stand up, become an activist, join an environmental group, lobby government, demand clean air, water, food, vaccines, and tell your friends!

3:46PM PST on Dec 16, 2008

Do not try to chelate metals while pregnant, either do it long before getting pregnant or wait until after childbirth and weaning.

9:04AM PST on Dec 16, 2008

Camilla, I hope you're following the comments. There is a way to safely remove toxins like heavy metals, VOC's, etc from the body. I was extremely toxic myself having worked in a flower shop and having large amounts of mercury fillings. I spent an absolute fortune trying to get well from MCS, brain fog, liver issues, etc. I passed a lot of it on to my daughter during pregnancy and she was born with kidney issues and she had migraines almost every day.

While the damage to the earth may never be cleaned up by humans, we can at least clean our bodies. You can read more on my website and don't hesitate to call me if you like.

In a matter of days my daughter's migraines vanished and within a couple weeks, my brain fog lifted completely, my skin improved, my energy came back, etc.

Sharon Hoehner
www.zeolitepro.com (imitations won't work so be sure to use only the original)

6:05AM PST on Dec 16, 2008

Remember that flu vaccines are toxic during pregnancy too - the baby is mommy's filter for the mercury, aluminum and other toxins in the shot.

12:15PM PST on Dec 15, 2008

Realistically is there any way to avoid most of these toxins? One can do a lot of things like buying environmentally safe products, but this is not always possible, not always available. Toxins will arrive somehow somewhere. I think this highlights another very serious environmental problem that is probably just as bad climate change if not worse, because toxins are absolutely everywhere, making every corner of the planet sick.
I have a suspicion its a lot worse that people think, and that governments should be having international conferences about this as well.
How can we begin to clean all this up?

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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