Avoid Phthalates During Pregnancy Says Harvard Health Publishing

Advice from Harvard Health Publishing points the finger at Phthalates during pregnancy. Babies exposed could be at a higher risk of heart disease and diabetes.

Pregnancy
New advice from Harvard Health Publishing focuses on the dangers of Phthalates during pregnancy. It’s common knowledge that women who are pregnant should stay clear of vices like alcohol & tobacco. Also some foods like sushi and soft cheeses.

However, most are usually unaware that lipstick, perfume, and many common lotions should probably not be used either!

That is because they each contain a chemical called Phthalates. It is nearly impossible to avoid Phthalates as they appear in thousands of everyday household items. There are numerous plastic products in particular many kinds of bulk packaging for cosmetics and beauty products.

The problem with Phthalates during pregnancy is that they act like hormones disrupting male genital growth. They are also known to increase the risk of heart disease and diabetes.

It is known that the risks they present begin before birth. One study demonstrated that children with mothers who were exposed to Phthalates during pregnancy have decreased motor functions in many cases. These motor skills are essential to our everyday functioning.

Furthermore, it was demonstrated that the children of mothers who have been exposed showed problems with language development.

Despite it being impossible to avoid Phthalates altogether there are some precautions women can take:

Reduced exposure to plastic packaging. Replace where possible with glass, ceramic, or aluminium foil pouches for food & drinks.

  • Gravitate towards foods that do not use plastic packaging and opt for foil packaging
  • If you do have food using plastic packaging do not microwave it and instead, wash it by hand.
  • Avoid fragrances as Phthalates are a common ingredient.
  • Check out handmade and artisan cosmetics as they tend not to use any chemicals, or significantly less.
  • Go for the DIY approach! Coconut Oil, Honey, Baking Soda and vinegar can be used to replace many commercial beauty products.
  • Use soap and water to wash your hands!

Following birth just be mindful of the chemicals that can cause the most harm. Keep your products all-natural and fragrance-free wherever possible.

Limit plastics in the house and keep up with the latest DIY advice and trends for household products. Especially toys & baby bottles.

It’s very difficult to escape all the harm around us, but with a little thought and initiative, we can make our environments much safer for children.

Avoid Phthalates During Pregnancy : A Better Understanding of Phthalates
Unregulated Use of ChemicalsWhile phthalates are pervasive, they aren’t typically understood as a single class when it comes to eliminating them. That’s why the recent call for their elimination from any products used by pregnant women, women of reproductive age, infants, and children is so important.

There are multiple types of phthalates out there. Consumers are exposed to phthalates through a mix of individual products but also through the combinations of products used in a single day.

Banning small segments of those products won’t be enough. We must aim to eliminate them all in order to best protect the health of these vulnerable populations. This may seem like an overwhelming goal, but with proper awareness and implementation, their complete removal can be achieved. In doing so, we can break the chain of exposure that puts us all at risk.

Harmful than Beneficial
The chemical industry is like a game of “whack-a-mole” that reflects an attitude throughout the industry that whatever problem arises can be solved with a quick fix. Often, manufacturers switch out one hazardous chemical for another without fully researching the effects of the new chemical.

Unfortunately, this strategy often leaves us worse off than before. As evidence suggests, many second-choice chemicals are just as problematic if not more so. Instead of relying on individual studies to assess the safety of each chemical, everyone should take a broader look at chemicals and their production process.

Understanding how certain combinations or processes may lead to toxic by-products even when people don’t fully recognize the threat posed by any one component. Sure, reducing the use of hazardous chemicals will almost certainly be expensive, but it would be worth it if it means fewer health risks for humans and the environment. Tighter regulation of harmful chemicals and incentives to develop safer alternatives are some options to consider – if society wants to make meaningful progress toward a healthier future for all.

Unregulated Use of Chemicals
When the cost of change feels too high, it can be easy to overlook the ongoing costs of not changing. As she points out, there is a wide range of repercussions for choosing not to regulate the chemicals that can endanger children’s health. Families may face high medical bills due to untreated diseases caused by environmental toxicity. Schools and other public institutions must grapple with learning delays, decreased productivity levels, and other indicators of poor mental and physical health among young people.

The good news is that manufacturers have demonstrated that these dangers can be avoided without passing along any extra costs. For example, Apple has removed phthalates “as a class” from their products including their IPAD & IPHONE accessory packaging. On the other hand, CVS and The Home Depot have reduced their use of many different types of products.

It’s possible – and perhaps necessary – to create safer environments where kids can thrive without putting an extra burden on businesses or families. One professor’s insight said that if we want to protect children from toxic chemicals, then hopefully her research will help us see how it’s both achievable and affordable.

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