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Pregnancy and toxics in the home

Pregnancy and toxics in the home

Exposure to chemicals during these moments of our development can cause the most diverse problems. These include miscarriages, premature births, or birth defects. Also problems that will manifest later, in childhood, such as damage to neurodevelopment or childhood cancers. And even diseases that will manifest themselves decades later in the adult state, such as cancers and cardiovascular diseases.

For this reason, it is worrying that innumerable polluting substances are detected within the bodies of pregnant women. A University of California study, for example, looked for 163 specific contaminants in pregnant women and found that certain polychlorinated biphenyls, organochlorine pesticides, perfluorinated compounds, flame retardants, phthalates, phenols, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and perchlorate were detected in 99 -100% of them.

The home can be a very important setting when many of these substances reach the pregnant woman.

The authors of that research noted that the levels of many of the substances analyzed were similar to the levels at which different scientific studies had found associations with health problems. Thus, for example, it happened with certain phthalates, which were at the levels at which it has been seen to be associated with feminization in male children, or with mercury, present at the levels at which it has been associated with this metal with effects on neurological development (which also happened with some flame retardant), etc. Also, something to be expected was happening with such a large number of different pollutants. That future mothers had several pollutants at the same time that could produce the same effect. For example, perchlorate, PCBs, PBDEs, and triclosan, which can affect maternal thyroid hormones, or different phthalates that can affect the development of the male reproductive system.

In this way, levels of DDE, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOS, a perfluorinated compound), benzophenone 3 (a sunscreen present in creams), monoethyl phthalate (MEP), bisphenol A ... and finally, innumerable substances that could have been come to them with food, tap water, hygiene and beauty products, air breathed in the home, paints, varnishes, solvents, pesticides, cleaning products, etc.

Many substances that may be present in the home have been associated by scientific studies with profound negative effects on pregnancy. Substances, for example, associated with foetotoxicity (and therefore can cause things like abortion), substances can induce birth defects, substances that can cause premature birth, or that the child has low birth weight, or that cause disorders in the development of your brain or your reproductive system, among other things.


As an example, phthalates, very frequent pollutants in homes, have been associated with an increased risk of having a premature birth. But also to other very different things, as it may be that male children born manifest certain alterations such as feminization or incomplete virilization.

The use of pesticides in the home during pregnancy has been associated by different studies with an increased risk that children may have leukemia. Also with non-Hodking lymphoma.

The level of use during pregnancy of certain pyrethroid pesticides in particular has been associated by some study with a notable drop in the rates of mental development of children born

(when they were 3 years old).

The presence of organophosphate pesticide residues in mothers has also been associated with effects on the mental development of children.

The use of certain home air fresheners has been associated by some research with an increased risk of suffering from postnatal headaches and depression (and in children under six months who were in homes where these products were used daily had more earaches and diarrhea).

There is also research showing an association between the use of chemicals in the home during pregnancy and childhood asthma. In one of them, for example, it was determined whether and how often pregnant women used products such as disinfectants, bleach, carpet cleaner, window cleaner, dry cleaning liquid, aerosols, turpentine / white spirit, air fresheners (spray, stick or aerosol), paint remover, paint or varnish or pesticides / insecticides. And it was found that those who had had a greater use of a series of products had a higher risk of having asthmatic children, concluding that it could be due to prenatal exposure and / or the effects of subsequent exposure in the early stages of life.

There are many investigations carried out but, as reported by the Spanish Society of Gynecology and Obstetrics (SEGO), there is great ignorance on the part of women about these chemical risks.

Some examples of associated disorders and problems

  1. Substances associated with fetotoxicity, with good evidence base: formaldehyde, solvents, ethylene-based glycol ethers, trichlorethylene, tetrachlorethylene, toluene, xylene, ethylene oxide, 1,1,1-trichloroethane, arsenic, bisphenol A, chlorination by-products of waters, trihalomethanes, chloroform, dibromochloropropane, fungicides, lead, mercury, methylene chloride, triazines, soot ... With a somewhat more limited evidence base: acrylamide, antimony, cadmium, carbon tetrachloride, dioxins, electromagnetic fields, PCBs, pentachlorophenol, phthalates ...
  2. Substances that scientific studies have associated with congenital malformations in general: solvents, glycol ethers based on ethylene, mercury, ionizing radiation, arsenic, bisphenol A, ethylene oxide, pesticides, vinyl chloride ...
  3. Substances that scientific studies have associated with congenital heart malformations: solvents, trichlorethylene, 1,2-trichloroethane, glycol ethers based on ethylene, atrazine, benzene, chlorination by-products, trihalomethanes, mineral oils, insecticides ...
  4. Substances that scientific studies have associated with reproductive system malformations: di (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, pesticides, arsenic, atrazine, benzyl butyl phthalate, bisphenol A, cadmium, di butyl phthalate, diisononyl phthalate, dioxins, ethylene-based glycol ethers, solvents, toluene, trichlorethylene ...
  5. Substances that scientific studies have associated with neural tube defects / malformations of the central nervous system (including eye malformations, such as congenital cataracts, anencephaly and hydrocephalus): arsenic, chlorination by-products, mercury, trihalomethanes, benzene, cadmium, glycol ethers based on ethylene, manganese, solvents, toluene, trichlorethylene, vinyl chloride ...
  6. Substances associated with skeletal malformations (limb shortening, syndactyly, polydactyly): arsenic, 1,1-dichloroethane, atrazine, bromoxynil, chlordecone, ethylene-based glycol ethers, ethylene oxide, manganese, pesticides ...
  7. Substances associated with harelip and cleft palate: 1,2-dichloroethane, cadmium, chlorination by-products, trihalomethanes, chloroform, solvents, ethylene-based glycol ethers, trichlorethylene, pesticides, dioxins ...
  8. Substances that scientific studies have associated with low birth weight / small for gestational age / intra-uterine growth retardation: 1,1-dichloroethane, arsenic, chlorination by-products, lead, mercury, organochlorine pesticides, organophosphates, PCBs, solvents, toluene, trihalomethanes, dioxins, ethylene oxide, perfluorinated compounds, tetrachlorethylene, trichlorethylene ...
  9. Substances that have been associated with premature delivery: benzene, DDT / DDE, ethylene oxide, lead, soot, phthalates, di (2-ethihexyl) phthalate (DEHP), phenoxyacetic herbicides ...

Non-toxic home


Video: 7 Household Toxins + How To Avoid u0026 Protect! (July 2021).