Tuesday, August 14, 2012

USAToday: Pregnant Women Rife with Chemicals

Bjorn Nicholaisen, Chairman of Norwex, shared some sobering information with us.  By the time I left conference, I vowed to remove any remaining chemicals from my home.  Thankfully, there aren't many left. 

One statistic shown was the rate of cancer.  At the time of the US Revolution the rate for cancer was 1 in 87,000.  Today it is 1 in 3.  Now some of this can be attributed to the fact that we live longer today thanks to advances in medicine, but can we attribute the whole increase?  I don't think so.

Another thing Bjorn shared is an article printed in USAToday in January 2011.  Here is the link to it and here is the text:

Pregnant women rife with chemicals
Pregnant women take elaborate steps to protect their babies' health, following doctors' orders to avoid alcohol, caffeine, tobacco — even soft cheeses and deli meats.

In spite of these efforts, a new study shows the typical pregnant woman has dozens of potentially toxic or even cancer-causing chemicals in her body — including ingredients found in flame retardants and rocket fuel.

Almost all 268 women studied had detectable levels of eight types of chemicals in their blood or urine, finds the study, published in today's Environmental Health Perspectives. It analyzed data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These chemicals include certain pesticides, flame retardants, PFCs used in non-stick cookware, phthalates (in many fragrances and plastics), pollution from car exhaust, perchlorate (in rocket fuel) and PCBs, toxic industrial chemicals banned in 1979 that persist in the environment.

Many of these chemicals pass through the placenta and can concentrate in the fetus, says lead author Tracey Woodruff, director of the University of California-San Francisco Program on Reproductive Health and Environment.

Other researchers have discovered some of these chemicals in babies' umbilical cords, Woodruff says.
Some of the chemicals detected in the study have been linked to health problems in other studies.
For example, the Food and Drug Administration has expressed "some concern" that BPA — an estrogen-like ingredient in plastic found in 96% of pregnant women — affects the development of the brain, prostate and behavior in children exposed both before and after birth. Lead and mercury are known to cause brain damage.

The study tested for 163 chemicals. So, as disturbing as the findings are, the study may actually underestimate the number of chemicals circulating through women's bodies, says Sarah Janssen, a senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council, an advocacy group. She's concerned that some of these chemicals may act together to cause more damage than they would alone.

The American Chemistry Council, an industry group, says the findings aren't a cause for concern.
"As part of daily life, our bodies naturally absorb organic and man-made chemicals from our environments, and analytical advances now allow researchers to measure exceedingly minute traces of such substances," spokesman Scott Jensen says. Even the CDC notes that the "mere presence of a chemical in the body does not mean that it will cause effects or disease," he says.
Woodruff says she doesn't want to scare pregnant women but Congress may need to pass tougher environmental laws to reduce their exposure.

The study should be a "call to action" to overhaul the main law that regulates chemicals, the Toxic Substances Control Act, which hasn't been updated since 1976, says Andy Igrejas, national campaign director of Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, an advocacy group. Bills to update that law were introduced last year in both houses of Congress.

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