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Those most vulnerable to the toxic effects of exposure to chemicals in consumer products are the new lives growing in their mother’s wombs. So if you are pregnant, or plan to be pregnant, it is most important that you minimize as much as possible your own toxic exposures and remove toxic chemicals from your body, for whatever toxic chemicals you are exposed to sooner or later find their way to the baby in your womb. Toxic exposures affect the health of your child in the womb, at birth, and even later in life begin even before you conceive your child. If you are like most women, you are exposed to toxic chemicals in amounts greater than your body can handle, so you now have a “body burden” of chemicals stored in your fat, bones, and other tissues that can later be released and transferred to your baby in your womb. Exposure to toxic chemicals can also make it difficult to or impossible to conceive, and cause miscarriages. Every toxic chemical you breathe, eat, or put on your skin while pregnant goes right into your bloodstream, and is carried throughout your body, including right to your growing baby. Your yet-to-be-born child has no defenses in place to withstand these exposures. Exposures to toxic chemicals during pregnancy can cause damage to the fetus that have lifelong repercussions for your child. Already birth defects as a result of mothers being exposed to toluene, benzene and xylene have been described as “fetal solvent syndrome,” analogous to fetal alcohol syndrome (read more at Organic Solvents and Pregnancy) Chemical exposure data from 268 pregnant women from National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES) were analyzed. The results: “Certain PCBs, organochlorine pesticides, PFCs, phenols, PBDEs, phthalates, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and perchlorate were detected in 99 to 100% of pregnant women.” (see Environmental Health Perspectives: Environmental Chemicals in Pregnant Women in the US: NHANES 2003-2004). Environmental Working Group tested the umbilical cord blood of ten minority babies and found as many as 232 chemicals in the ten newborns. Nine out of the ten tested positive for BPA, an industrial petrochemical that has been associated with cancer, cognitive and behavioral impairments, endocrine system disruption, reproductive and cardiovascular system abnormalities, diabetes, asthma and obesity. (see EWG: 232 Toxic Chemicals in 10 Minority Babies). Clearly there are toxic chemicals in consumer products, and our environment, that can cause infertility, miscarriages, birth defects, and other reproductive problems. But there is something you can do: you can remove toxic chemical exposures from your home and remove toxic chemicals stored in your body from past exposures. Here are a few simple things you can do right now to reduce your exposure to chemicals that cause birth defects: 1. Don’t eat canned food (can linings contain dangerous levels of bisphenol-A. Instead prepare your meals from fresh organic foods. 2. Don’t drink water from clear plastic bottles (more bisphenol-A). Instead drink filtered water or water from glass bottles. 3. Don’t use permanent ink markers, they contain toluene and xylene. Instead, choose water-based markers (they don’t say “permanent” on the label and don’t have a strong odor). For more information: * – links to multiple resources that will help you reduce your exposure to toxic chemicals by choosing nontoxic products for your home Toxic Free Body – how to remove the toxic chemicals already in your body with effective methods of detox. * Birth Defects Research for Children – lots of information on toxic chemicals that cause birth defects, including fact sheets, books, and support groups.