Chemical exposures harming babies in the womb

The Michigan Green Chemistry Clearinghouse broadcasted a free Webinar March 14, “Neurodevelopmental outcomes in children associated with chemical exposures occurring early in life.”  Presenter, Amir Miodovnick, MD, MPH, DTM&H, who works in Pediatric Environmental Medicine at The Mount Sinai School of Medicine, revealed that chemical exposure in our everyday environment is doing great harm to our infants and children—especially babies in the womb.

The list of toxic substances would be hard for any pregnant woman to totally avoid, even if she was up on the latest research, had money for safer product choices or ate a totally organic diet.

These chemical toxins are in the air we breathe, the food we eat and the water we drink. High on the list of damaging toxins are organophosphate pesticides, fire retardants in clothing and furniture, compounds found in most plastics and even on every electronic receipt we get when we buy something. Miodovnick noted that organophosphates were first developed for deadly chemical warfare and later modified for use as pesticides.

Recent research has shown these chemicals are linked to premature labor, low birth weight, autism, hyperactivity, lower IQ and cerebral palsy in children. Girls exposed in the womb have more risk for emotional illness; boys are more prone to aggression. “These effects are occurring at lower andlower levels, at levels lower than the (EPA) standard,” Miodovnick said.

While folic acid as a supplement or when consumed in deep green leafy vegetable, can amend the effects of some of these toxins in the first trimester of pregnancy, lead is the only toxin that can be reduced in the body through a nutritional approach, according to Miodovnick. He noted that eating foods high in calcium and maintaining good iron stores can help rid lead from the body.

That said, eating organic foods can reduce exposures to these deadly chemicals.

Current EPA regulations do little to protect us and our children from toxic contamination. The sole regulations in place were adopted after the most toxic substances were already in widespread use. These were grandfathered in and excluded from safety testing requirements. Because safety testing is costly, chemical companies simply do not look for safer alternatives as these would require safety testing.

Click here to view a .pdf of the webinar presentation in full.