Greenmom’s Guide to a Low Toxin Pregnancy
all know that we are exposed to toxin cocktails
everyday. Having tested Canadians from coast
to coast, Environmental Defence's Toxic Nation
reports that toxic chemicals were found
in every baby, child and
adult that they tested. "It is alarming,
however, that there were several cases where the
children in the study were more polluted than
their parents by chemicals that are still in use."
(Toxic Nation Studies, "Family Group Results."
good news is there are ways of protecting our
children as early as in utero during pregnancy.
Here are some ways of having a low-toxin pregnancy:
foods and choose hormone-free
meats and dairy products.
can avoid passing on chemicals through our placenta
by choosing organic foods whenever possible.
In the Toxic Nation Studies, the tested families
were found to have high
levels of organophosphorous (OP) pesticides.
These pesticides kill insects by disrupting their
nervous systems; I can't imagine ingesting fruits
and vegetables that
have been sprayed with nerve-disruptors as healthy
for human consumption. If the bugs don't want
them, neither do we. It is also best to choose
hormone-free and antibiotic-free meats. While banned in the E.U., growth-promoting
hormones in beef cattle is still approved for
use in the U.S. and Canada.
position is that "Scientific research
to date has not demonstrated that food products
from animals treated with these hormonal growth
promoters pose a threat to human health."
Answers - Hormonal Growth Promoters." Health
Canada. 02 May 2004).
we lean towards caution and
consider the fact that the E.U. is concerned enough
about any risk that these hormones pose to people
who eat hormone-enhanced beef to ban not only
the use of these growth-promoting hormones but
also all beef imports from the U.S. The European
Union’s Scientific Committee on Veterinary Measures
Relating to Public Health questions whether drug
residues in the meat could affect human hormonal
balance "causing developmental problems,
interfering with the reproductive system, and
even leading to the development of breast, prostate
or colon cancer. Children, pregnant women and
the unborn are thought to be most susceptible
to these negative health effects" (The
Scientific Committee on Veterinary Measures Relating
to Public Health. “Assessment of Potential Risks
to Human Health from Hormone Residues in Bovine
Meat and Meat Products.”
European Commission, April
30, 1999). Lastly, drink organic milk to avoid
ingesting the RBGH (Recombinant Bovine Growth
Hormone) injected in cows to stimulate their milk
production and the antiobiotics that they are given.
Use synthetic-free and chemical-free
bath, beauty and body
Remember that our skin is our largest organ and that everything we put on our skin goes into our bloodstream. As
well as our babies' too while they're inside of
us. Look at the first 3 or 4 ingredients in the
product: those usually make up most of what we
put on our skin, hair or face. If you're unsure
about an ingredient because it's a long word or
string of words that you can't pronounce, opt
out. Or at least opt out until you can go home
and check the product
out on www.cosmeticsdatabase.com.
a quick reference, here are the top 5 offenders
(from the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard
tar - a carcinogen, can be found
in shampoos and hair
dyes, and contains toxic substances such as napthalene and benzopyrene.
Formaldehyde - a carcinogen, is a disinfectant used in nail polish,
deodorant, soaps, shampoo and
phthalate) - a carcinogen, has been linked to
birth defects in the male reproductive system.
It can be found in nail
polish, deodorant, fragrance, hairspray and
glycol mono-t-butyl -
a carcinogen, is found
in nail polish and other
- causes birth defects or other reproductive harm,
and is found
mainly in nail polish and
Use toxic-free (and fume-free)
cleaners, detergents and
laundry products. Use natural products like baking soda and washing soda to clean and deodorize. Vinegar
is great for mirrors and
glass, and borax is
a good disinfectant.
Distilled white vinegar or lemon juice are also great
There are also great toxin-free commercial cleaning
products available: Nature Clean, Dr. Bronner's
and Ecover are a few
of our favourite brands.
Choose products that have the "green seal"
(http://www.greenseal.org/) logos or the environmental
choice designation (http://www.ecologo.org/).
If you wish to mix and make
your own toxin-free cleaners, you can get handy
kits that give you all that you need to do just
that from Eco-Me.
Toronto-based Soleado Casa also has some wonderful pre-mixed toxin-free cleaners.
Microfibre cloths are great for scrubbing and wiping too. In the laundry, skip the heavy
detergents and anti-static
Use baking-soda based laundry
detergents and dryer
balls isntead. Chemical-based cleaners are not
only bad for our health but for our environment
too - they go down our drains and straight into our waters and soil.
Use beeswax or soy candles.
love the peaceful and
gossamer glow of candlelight
and the delicious aroma of scented candles. But if they aren't beeswax candles
then they're likely to be made from paraffin wax
(which is the bottom-of-the-barrel by-product
of refined petroleum, i.e. they won't even use
this for gasoline) and industrial bleach (gives the candle
that whiteness). Burning a paraffin candle in your home is akin to burning diesel oil and inhaling its fumes and soot. Totally yucky,
yes, but more so, totally toxic as the soot releases
carcinogens and air
contaminants like toluene, benzene, methyl ethyl
ketone (MEK), and naphthalene.
paraffin candles double
the whammy as they also may contain a lead core
in the wick. Scented paraffin candles
may even triple the whammy if they use artifical
scents. Beeswax and
Soy candles are the
Look for 100% beeswax and
100% soy candles (with
no additives) with cotton wicks.
Pure beeswax has a subtle. honey aroma and is cream to honey brown in colour.
Naturally-filtered (not by bleach) beeswax is ivory
Soy candles are water soluble,
soot-free and when scented,
are scented with essential oils derived from plant
stainless steel, glass or cast iron cookware,
and aluminum-free deodorants
and toothpaste. Magnesium
deficiency also increases the risk of aluminum
accumulation in our bodies, especially when we
are pregnant (ALUMINUM AND HEALTH: First International
Conference on METALS AND THE BRAIN, University
of Padova, Italy:
20-23 September 2000). Although not a heavy meal
like lead, aluminum can be toxic in huge amounts.
We absorb aluminum through our skin, by ingesting
it, and through our
lungs. While pregnant, it is best to also avoid
food products that contain aluminum like baking
powder, table salt and bleached flour.
say avoid tuna and other
fish on the ocean floor; others dispute that pregnant
and nursing mothers
need the fatty Omega-3 acids that fish give us.
We say that we should inform ourselves and decide which way is best for us to get our Omega-3s. Perhaps it
is by choosing seafood that contain little or
no mercury like clams, rainbow trout, tilapia,
or northern Canadian shrimp (for a comprehensive
list of smart seafood choices, visit: www.oceansalive.org);
or perhaps it is by taking Omega-3 supplements.
Either way, the goal is to get the necessary Omega-3s
without ingesting any mercury.
fillings over amalgam fillings.
fillings release mercury. The Canadian Dental
Association says that "there is no scientific
evidence of ill effects (of amalgam fillings),
although mercury is known to cross the placenta"
(The Canadian Dental Association FAQs. www.cda-adc.ca). If possible, postpone dental
work or have it done prior to your pregnancy (easier
said than done for some of us!). Alternatively,
ask for composite fillings.
in hair dyes are absorbed through our scalp and
go right into our blood stream. Many physicians
advise against hair dyes during pregnancy. Check
with your doctor before dyeing your hair. While
there are vegetable and
plat-based dyes available in health food stores,
they too contain some of the same chemicals found
in non-plant-based hair dye products.
paints when decorating your baby's room.
paint contains petrochemical derivatives which
can off-gas in your home and baby's room. Plus, you would inhale these same fumes as you happily
paint in anticipation of your soon-to-be-born
baby. Plant-based paints and
eco-paints are a non-toxic alternative: milk paint,
mineral paint and paints with the environmental choice designation are good choices.
Remember to open all windows
and to paint in a well-ventilated
room even though you're using eco-paint. And
let the room vent or air out before sleeping in