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Pesticides and Pregnancy

by Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff
Executive Director/CEO
Healthy Child Healthy World

There was a time when doctors told pregnant mothers it was okay to smoke and drink alcohol because their babies were protected. Obviously, now we know otherwise—but many women are still misinformed about the dangers of the common contaminants that their fetuses are exposed to. Last week, a new study published in Environmental Health Perspectives found that “an expectant mother’s exposure to commonly used pesticides might pose risks to her developing fetus comparable to those long associated with tobacco smoking [such as lower birth weight and earlier labor],” according to the Huffington Post. The study subjects were not agricultural workers: “These are women exposed primarily through diet and perhaps pesticides used in and around the yard,” said Dr. Bruce Lanphear, a study researcher. Should doctors recommend women avoid pesticides during pregnancy as they do cigarettes and alcohol? We think so.

Pre-Tween Puberty

Is puberty before age 10 the “new normal”? A New York Times profile of a nine-year-old girl who began growing pubic hair at age six that referenced endocrine disruptors as a possible cause generated a flurry of related articles, including one at the Center for Health, Environment & Justice that also references Sandra Steingraber’s groundbreaking research on the role of toxic chemicals found in everyday products that interfere with hormone systems.

Chicken Fed Pharmaceuticals

A new study from Johns Hopkins University found that “poultry on factory farms are routinely fed caffeine, active ingredients of Tylenol and Benadryl, banned antibiotics and even arsenic” according to the New York Times. Yet another reason to choose organic.

Stand Up for Safer Chemicals

Want more regulation of chemicals in your environment? Let your Senator know you support the Safe Chemicals Act by signing the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families petition. The petition signatures will be delivered to Congress in May—stand up for safer chemicals today!

Celebs Party for Healthy Child!

And, finally, a shameless plug: “Celebrity mothers Kelly Preston, Elisabeth Rohm and Jenna Elfman have joined forces with a children’s charity to host kids’ parties aimed at raising awareness about the toxic chemicals used in household products. The actresses, along with Muhammad Ali’s boxer daughter Laila Ali and former All My Children star Susan Lucci and her daughter Liza Huber, are among more than 150 volunteers who have signed up to throw individual events for the Healthy Child Healthy World organization as part of its Healthy Child Party Week, which begins on 5 May,” according to World News. Today, we’re almost at 3,000 participants. Could you be the host that helps us reach our goal?


  1. This write up bring alots of questions to my mind as per issues of doctor recommendation, there are some things we don’t have to wait for the doctor to make a recommendation concerning issues around us before we take a proper action. As at the time when doctor asked pregnant womem to smoke and drink alcohol, I’m sure a lot of women will have their reservations. That has been laid aside now because it is so clear that the child is not actualy protected against some of the thing we consumed, the issue of pesticide has now come into play, and definitely what affect the expectant mother will somehow find their ways to affect the foetus. Pregnant women will just have to avoid pesticide totally if possible but that too cannot actually happen because here in africa where so many people live with pest, taking aggressive action against the pest might cause another problem for our pregnant womem.

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