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Introduction to Reducing Our Body Burden

If you are thinking about having a baby, if you are pregnant, or if you just had a baby, consider taking action to reduce your baby’s chemical “body burden.” This series of articles will help you make decisions to reduce the chemicals in your child’s blood as they grow giving them better chances for long-term health. Numerous studies in the past decade on cord blood, blood, and breast milk are showing that everyone in the world has pollution in their blood. Environmental Working Group’s 2005 Study, “Body Burden—The Pollution in Newborns,” found some horrifying results:

“Of the 287 chemicals we detected in umbilical cord blood, we know that 180 cause cancer in humans or animals, 217 are toxic to the brain and nervous system, and 208 cause birth defects or abnormal development in animal tests. The dangers of pre- or post-natal exposure to this complex mixture of carcinogens, developmental toxins, and neurotoxins have never been studied.”

This is called our “body burden.” The pollution is from chemicals getting dumped into our waterways, soil, and air. These chemicals are not only from industries, but they are from us as well. They are from our household activities such as cleaning, cooking, washing our cars, or purchasing contaminated products. Some of the chemicals that were detected in umbilical cord blood in this study were:

  • Mercury from coal fired power plants—found in seafood
  • Polybrominated dibenzodioxins and furans (PBDD/F) and Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs)—some are from flame retardant treated furniture, mattresses, clothing, and computers; also from manufacturing plastics
  • Perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs)—breakdown products of Teflon, Scotchgard, fabric and carpet protectors, food wrap coatings
  • Organochlorine pesticides (OCs)—conventional agriculture chemicals; some have been banned for years, but still show up in the blood
  • Polychlorinated Naphthalenes (PCNs)—from wood varnishes, stains, or machine lubricating oils

All these chemical pollutants are accumulating in the food chain and coming back to us. We have an impact on our household environment, and we can change how we live to reduce the chemical impact on our developing babies or children. We can also influence industry with our demand for safer products through our spending power. We vote with our dollars!

By GreenMoms

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