Below is an article from Gabriela Rosa that I feel is quite important to be informed about. Find out how safe your personal care products are an Skin Deep, the cosmetics safety database.
By, Gabriela Rosa
Chemicals are present in so much of our day to day lives and some exposure is decidedly unavoidable. The best way to decrease exposure is to be informed of where the “great dangers” lie, which will enable you to understand how to avoid being in contact with things and products you are likely to be harmful to your health and fertility. As a key rule, every new man-made technology of any kind is likely to contain at least some harmful chemicals. Since that is pretty much everything, you may ask yourself — if it is all doomed anyway, what is the point?
The point is to reduce exposure, not to avoid it completely — because that is impossible in today’s world. However, it is essential to understand 3 major trademarks of all chemicals in our lives and environment:
- Chemicals are hormone (or endocrine) disruptors — this means they directly and indirectly negatively affect your health and fertility in a MAJOR way. So by reducing exposure to a great number of the things you don’t really need in your life and that can be replaced by more natural and less toxic alternatives you will maximize your fertility and the chances of having the healthiest possible baby.
- Chemicals are persistent and linger in the environment (in some cases) forever because they simply do not break down, therefore chemical contamination become our legacy for future generations as well;
- Chemicals are bio-accumulative, just like heavy metals they build up in our bodies and the bodies of animals, being passed down along generations causing disease.
Chemicals in Your Home Environment
In order to be able to make a difference to your chemical exposure, you need to learn about what exactly you are looking to protect yourself against. Once you know what you are looking to exclude from your immediate environment in order to protect yourself and your family, reducing chemicals in the home can be made simpler by avoiding and replacing certain things. The World Wide Fund for Nature (United Kingdom) or WWF, has produced a brilliant information brochure on how to reduce chemical exposure in the home — including what you should avoid, what you should buy and what you need to change in order to protect your health and fertility. For more information go to www.wwf.org.uk and simply browse the different areas of the home for further details.
This may surprise you, however, studies have found that levels of several chemicals around the home are on average 2 to 5 times higher indoors than outdoors, it can often be as high as 10 times however, during and for several hours and sometimes even months following certain activities, such as paint stripping, indoor levels may be 1,000 times higher than outdoors. Hence the important of making good choices in what kinds of products you choose for your home and certainly avoiding renovations, painting the house, lacquering or varnishing furniture and so on throughout your preconception preparation and during your pregnancy. Newly painted wall can outgas for up to 6months after coating!
The main chemical culprits in the home are known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids. VOCs include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects. VOCs are emitted by a wide array of products numbering in the thousands. Examples include: cosmetics, nail polish, nail polish removers, perfumes, fragrances, paints, lacquers varnishes, paint strippers and other solvents, degreasers, cleaning supplies, dry-cleaned clothing, disinfectants, antibacterial soaps, air fresheners, aerosol sprays, moth repellents, canned foods, pesticides, building materials and furnishings, wood preservatives, office equipment such as copiers and printers, correction fluids and carbonless copy paper, graphics and craft materials including glues and adhesives, permanent markers, photographic solutions, hobby products and more. Fuels and automotive products are also made up of organic chemicals. And all of these products can release organic compounds while you are using them, and, to some degree, when they are stored.
As far as VOCs present in your cosmetics or personal hygiene items, they can be extremely damaging because the skin is capable of absorbing so much of what is placed on it. Be very awere of chemical names you don’t understand on product labels, and buy chemical free personal hygiene items and if you are unsure check the Environmental Working Group’s cosmetic safety database at www.cosmeticdatabase.com for more information about the ingredients of the products you are using. This is the best way to protect your health and that of your prospective family as well.