Over 70 years we have experienced a dramatic increase to the exposure of toxic chemicals within our environments, including the home (Sutton, 2012). A study by Currie and Schmieder (2008) had found over 232 chemicals in the umbilical cord of infants that may have lifelong consequences. In a separate study by Sutton (2012) found that every pregnant woman are exposed to toxic chemicals due to their environment. Thus preventing environmental exposure to chemicals should reduce the number of chemicals transferred to the unborn child.
According to these studies the toxic chemicals in our environment has several sources, including what we eat, such as processed foods. However, other factors may be out of our control such as air pollution caused by industries in the area or working environment contributes the toxic chemical exposure. Having said that, one of the most important ways in which we are exposed to toxic chemicals are our cleaning habits.
Yes that is correct, we induce our own intoxication through the chemicals we use to clean our homes. In fact, if you can smell it, you have inhaled it, and the chemical molecules are entering your body, often crossing the placenta to the unborn baby. Besides the health risks it yields to the adults in the home, there are a myriad health risks to the infant.
Several fertility risks had been identified by Sutton (2012) and these risks includes a decline in the age of reaching puberty, a declines in fertility and fecundity of the child reaching adulthood; increased rates of poor birth outcomes such as babies born prematurely or stillborn babies, small for gestational age, and with certain birth defects.
Health risks that increases with toxic chemical exposure as indicated by Sutton (2012) are the increased rates of childhood diseases such as autism, certain types of cancer, and obesity; and declines in life expectancy with some communities having life expectancies already well behind those of the best-performing nations.
Currently our workplaces, homes and shopping centres contains high concentrations of toxic chemicals, exposing ourselves, families and children. At least we have control over what we use in our homes and what we put into our bodies and the bodies of our children. Here are few examples of what we can do:
Use BPA free plastic containers (such as baby bottles)
Buy and eat organic (pesticides used on crops enter the produce, and therefore your body by eating it)
Only use natural cleaning products (where you reduce toxic chemicals, such as ENJO Fibres)
Switch over to natural brands of toiletries such as shampoo and toothpaste (Environmental Working Group has a List)
Avoid using artificial air fresheners, dryer sheets, fabric softeners, or other synthetic fragrances
The above list is by no means exhaustive, but should help you as mother to reduce toxic chemical exposure to your baby. Watch the following video that will elaborate the “toxic home syndrome” that were broadcasted in Australia