The health impacts of the use of chemicals in our lives is alarming. And even more concerning is that this pollution to our bodies begins even before birth.
Dr Sarah Lantz (PhD,) has researched these impacts in detail. In her examination of placentas and umbilical cords the following list of things were found:
- Waste by-products such as pollution from incinerators, dioxin, teflon, PCBs, formaldehyde, heavy metals including lead, methylmercury and cadmium.
- Consumer products: sulphates, parabens, phthalates, fragrances, artificial musks, brominated flame-retardants, preservatives, triclosan, bisphenol-A (BPA).
- Industrial chemicals banned over 30 years ago, such as pesticides.
And what exactly are the health impacts?
Many can be traced directly to the illnesses that our babies and children are now experiencing. These include immune diseases, asthma, allergies, and cancers, higher rates of learning and behavioural difficulties and intellectual impairment. They also include a host of reproductive problems, such as birth defects, congenital malformations, and infertility.
Who is responsible for this contamination?
Chemical manufacturers, industrial agriculture, the cosmetic and personal care industries, governments and their lack of protective legislation.
But essentially, we, as parents, are primarily responsible for how polluted our babies arrive in this world and how toxic our children become. We are the ones to prepare the setting in which our babies eat, play and grow. We make the choices about what personal care products we use on their skin and hair, what fabric they sleep in, what drugs, if any, we dose them with, and what toys they play with and chew on. Human exposure studies show that most of our exposure to pollutants occurs indoors from products that we, as consumers, choose to use.
When we use the most popular consumer products on the shelves; wipes, nappies, bubble bath, shampoo, cleansers, toothpaste, we create toxic babies, children and teenagers. Consider that every time you hold your child, they inhale the chemicals in your personal care products.
Current regulations do not require manufacturers of commercial chemicals to supply any toxicity data before selling their products. This means that over half of the chemicals produced for human consumption have never been tested for toxicity of the human body.
What can we do to help our babies flourish in a toxic world?
- As parents we need to demand better and safer products for our children.
- We need to ask where and how and with what the products are made from.
- We need to educate ourselves so that we can read labels and understand exactly what we are buying and bringing into our home.
- We need to demand protective policies on children’s environmental health as in Australia. Chemicals that are banned in other countries (BPA – Bisphenol A, Phthalates; some flame-retardants; food colourings; preservatives etc) are still being consumed in Australia
- Purchase ethical, organic, natural products.
We as consumers drive the market, so every purchase we make has an immediate impact on our family, the environment and the people who make the products, often from third world countries.
Article written by Melinda Bito, owner & founder of Eco Toys & DR Sarah Lantz (PhD), research fellow at the University of Queensland, mother, author of the bestselling book Chemical Free Kids: Raising Healthy Children in a Toxic World.