What the Doctor Didn’t Tell You: Toxic Chemicals
2,600 OBGYNs revealed they don't warn pregnant patients about potential toxins in food, consumer products, and the environment.
When you head to the doctor during pregnancy, you’ll likely hear the same story about keeping up your general health as most anyone would: eat a nutritious diet, get plenty of sleep, and refrain from dangerous habits such as smoking and drinking. The same advice your mother probably already gave you years ago, minus the co-pay. But what about warning you against harmful toxins and substances? Should you avoid pumping gas, using household cleaners, or even putting on makeup?
A new nationwide survey of more than 2,600 obstetricians and gynecologists revealed that the vast majority do not warn their pregnant patients about potential toxins in food, consumer products, and the environment that could endanger the growth and development of their fetus. More than half do not warn about mercury, or educate their patients on the dangers of lead, pesticides, or even pollution in the environment or in the household, according to the survey.
What are the Dangers?
These nine months are a good time to be aware that exposure to chemicals can endanger reproductive health. While pregnant, studies show that even low levels of exposure to chemicals in the womb such as lead, mercury, and bisphenol A could disrupt the development of the brain and reproductive systems. These exposures could also raise the risk of certain birth defects, asthma, cancer, and other disorders later in life.
What Can I Do?
It is important to be aware of the surrounding dangers while pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant. Do your research when it comes to household cleaners, consumer products and cosmetics, and look for safe alternatives. Exposure to these chemicals while doing every day activities can be a struggle to avoid, but for the next nine months, let someone else put gas in the car.