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Child & Maternal Care In An Era Of Chemical Contamination

Aug 17, 2007
Every year around 100,000 different types of chemicals are produced for a variety of uses around the world and many of these chemicals find their way into our environment and homes. Meanwhile, other chemicals that have been banned still leak in from old products and continue to linger around as we continue to pump our lives with more toxins. Having said that, the current testing, labeling and monitoring programs capture only a fraction of the chemicals we are exposed to.

The realistic unfortunate bottom line is that we are being exposed to tens of thousands of chemicals every day that interact with each other and with us. We have evolved to incorporate them in our lives in every possible manner, still we stumble and trip trying to figure out why disease,cancer rates, and the oh so many mental and behavioral disabilities continue to replicate.

About 99 % of all the recent reports about the effects of chemicals on the environment and human health continue to focus on pollutants which we have already isolated as being problematic, while largely ignoring the many other chemicals about which we know so little.

In this talk I would like to touch on children and how they are affected by what we unkowingly bring into our homes that may directly contribute to unwanted and costly medical problems.

Like it or not the second highest source of chemical exposure, after food, is air. Indoor exposure to chemicals, including alkylphenols, bisphenol A. and phthalates, in preschool children has been shown to be greater indoors than out (Wilson et al.,2003.)Chemicals build up from cleaning compounds, personal care products, cosmetics and toiletries. Vapors & degraded materials detach from carpeting, paints, computers, furniture and toys, and stick to aerosol particles.

Another reality many parents may or may not know is that children are at a higher risk of developing side effects and illnesses from these exposures as their entire physiology, pharmaco-kinetics and dynamics differ from those of adults.

There are many mechanisms by which environmental agents can negatively outcome a pregnancy (including fertility and the in utero development of the next generation of women) as there is a growing body of epidemiologic literature that associates air pollution with preterm labour and delivery and other adverse pregnancy outcomes.

In the pregnant state women may be exposed to the same environmental chemicals and activities as non-pregnant women or as they were before their pregnancies, however, there are some aspects of the lives of many women that increase the likelihood of exposures to certain toxic agents. For example, as compared with men, many women might be spending more time at home, either as homemakers, caregivers or to work a home-based business which increases their chancess of exposure to indoor toxins (Burg Ja. et al.)

Many of these chemicals are eventually transmitted to the growing fetus and can affect multiple organs on many different levels starting from mild to severe.

So, mothers need to be ware of some home-based activities like gardening and craft work which involve exposure to toxic agents under conditions with less control than many regulated workplaces. Crafts, especially making jewelry, ceramics and prints can be associated with hazardous chemicals exposure.

There are also some behavioral aspects of pregnancy that may increase the likelihood of exposure as many women & men prepare for their new born by engaging in repairs to the home environment. Remodeling may increase exposure to hazards such as lead-based paint, asbestos, formaldehyde, and radon. Of these, lead is a major reproductive toxin that can result in decreased fertility in men and women and increase the risk of intrauterine toxicity to the fetus (Silbergeld Ek. et al.1997.)

So, the message is and has always been to care for your health beyond the norm that has been taught. Spend some time and effort to learn how breathing contaminated air into your lungs can be avoided by simple shopping decisions and some behavioral modifications.
About the Author
Iman Ashour M.D lives In Halifax, Canada. She is a member of the Fourpoint Group and besides being a doctor, she helps people set up a healthy and successful home based business.
Learn to live well
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