Dr. Amy Haas
Virtually all pregnant women in the U.S. carry multiple chemicals in their bodies. This chemical load includes some banned since the 1970’s, as well as others used in common products such as non-stick cookware, processed foods and personal care products.
A new study marks the first time that the number of chemicals to which pregnant women are exposed has been counted. Researchers analyzed data for more than 160 chemicals and detected polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), organochlorine pesticides, perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), phenols, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), phthalates, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and perchlorate in 99 to 100 percent of pregnant women.
Science Daily reports:
“Among the chemicals found in the study group were PBDEs, compounds used as flame retardants now banned in many states including California, and dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), an organochlorine pesticide banned in the United States in 1972.”
YEOWCH!!!!!!! This is really disturbing. The time at which humans are most susceptible to chemical damage to DNA is in utero. If 99% of pregnant women carry multiple carcinogenic and mutagenic chemicals within their bodies, what ailments do the babies end up with?
If you are even considering having a child within the next two to three years, the time is now to eliminate your exposure to these toxins. And, getting rid of coffee and alcohol is good, but it’s not enough. Since you can’t reduce exposure to chemicals if you don’t know you’re being exposed, here’s a list of some simple ways to reduce your toxin load:
Store your food in glass containers whenever possible, as it is the most inert container you can use.
Use only natural cleaning products in your home. Most health food stores will have these available.
Buy and eat organic produce and free-range, organic foods to reduce your exposure to pesticides.
Avoid conventional or farm-raised fish, which are often heavily contaminated with PCBs and mercury. Instead, supplement with a high-quality fish oil to get your beneficial omega-3 fats.
Throw out your Teflon pots and pans and instead use safer materials like ceramic and glass.
Have your tap water tested and, if contaminants are found, install an appropriate water filter on all your faucets (including those in your shower or bath).
Avoid using artificial air fresheners, dryer sheets, fabric softeners or other synthetic fragrances.
Look for “green,” toxin-free alternatives in lieu of regular paint and vinyl floor coverings.
Replace your vinyl shower curtain with one made of fabric or install glass shower doors.
Limit your use of drugs (prescription and over-the-counter) as much as possible. Drugs are chemicals too, and they will leave residues and accumulate in your body over time.
Avoid spraying pesticides around your home or insect repellants that contain DEET on your body.
The secondary question, of course, is if you have these chemicals stored in your body, how do you get rid of them? Many different sources recommend treatments such as dietary “cleanses” or colonics, that are purported to remove toxins from the blood and from within fat, where toxins tend to accumulate. I reserve the right to change my mind if additional/convincing evidence becomes available, but for now, frankly, I’m not the biggest fan of these methods for removal of the toxins mentioned above. (For removal of heavy metal toxins, I do support chelation therapy with well-researched methods like NeuroCleanse – but that’s a subject for another Signpost.)
The nut that I am, I’m much more a fan of helping the body do what it knows how to do, naturally. Little did many of you know, you have a magnificent detoxification apparatus within your own body – it’s called your liver. What does your liver need, to work at 100%? Just the basics: Water, food, and connection with the brain (again with that nervous system function, I know, I keep bringing that up!) What else could help your liver to work at maximum efficiency for clearing toxins? EXERCISE. Why? Because exercise moves blood, and mobilizes fat stores. Both of these actions are necessary to bring “sludge” to the liver to be processed!
This is one of the reasons that I make sure to drink adequate water (adequate = your pee is clear) and to get regular exercise. Our bodies are furnaces, and we need to allow them to do a good metabolic burn (often) not unlike a car that has seen too much in-town traffic of late needs good trip on the highway. Which car runs better and lasts longer? Hm: the one that gets regular maintenance, good quality fuel, and is used for what it was designed.
It is increasingly difficult to avoid daily exposure to toxins. This is the “modern era” we live in, and we pay the price for the conveniences we enjoy. But, given the proper awareness and the proper discipline, avoidance of toxic overload can be accomplished. It’s your choice: clean running engine, or toxic sludge. You only have one body. How will you treat it?