As Jeb Berrier finds out in Bag It, exposure to environmental toxins takes on a much more sinister and vital importance when his partner becomes pregnant. No longer is it about his own health, but now the health of a child who will depend upon him for everything. Also of terrifying significance, the health of the woman who is carrying the child for the first nine months of its existence.
People everywhere can relate to Jeb’s desire – wanting to give their children organic milk even if they themselves take the hormone-filled brand in their morning latte. Using BPA-free plastic bottles and sippy cups and toys. For the most brave, using cloth diapers. Desiring to give their offspring the most healthy, chemical-free, start to life.
This week, researchers at the University of California, San Francisco identified 163 chemicals—including phthalates, flame retardants and long-banned pesticides—in 268 pregnant women.
How are they being exposed to these developmental/reproductive toxicants? From such everyday items as mattresses, toothpaste, microwave popcorn bags, hand sanitizers and store receipts.
How to avoid exposure? New Hope suggests eating fresh produce rather than canned, because cans are lined with BPA. They also provide the following tips to limit chemical exposure:
- Leave shoes at the door. Pesticides and other outdoor contaminants can find their way into homes by being tracked in on shoes.
- Avoid antibacterial products. Plain soap and water does the job of getting rid of “germs” and use of chemicals like triclosan or triclocarban in soap, toothpaste or other personal care products leads to unnecessary exposure to these hormone-disrupting chemicals. Waterless hand sanitizers that contain alcohol are a good and safe alternative when away from a sink.
- Use a damp mop or cloth to dust and use a HEPA filter on vacuum cleaners. Dry dusting, sweeping or using a filterless vacuum cleaner will kick up contaminant-laden dust, making it easier to breathe in. Using a microfiber or damp cloth with a static charge to collect dust particles can preempt this.
- Wash hands frequently with plain soap and water. Wash after dusting or cleaning and after using electronics to wash away any contaminants that might have accumulated on hands.