From flame retardants to fossil fuels, newborn babies are exposed to chemicals passed on by his/her mother in utero. Although this is not new information, I was shocked to learn that there are actually 300 chemical compounds in a newborn’s umbilical cord!
Those pure little beings aren’t so pure at birth, and as a mother and a human being, I find this level of contaminants alarming.
According to the LA Times:
Virtually everything we buy, breathe, drink and eat contains traces of toxic substances…Every day, about half a dozen chemicals are added to the estimated 83,000 already in commerce. In the United States alone, about 42 billion pounds of chemicals are produced or imported daily.
If we start with 300 chemicals in our bodies, imagine the bioaccumulation that occurs over our lifetimes. Some parents have gone so far as to have their whole family’s body burden tested. The results of one Oakland family were shocking. The children had chemical exposure levels seven times those of their parents proving children are more susceptible to the chemicals in our homes. The children’s father Jeremiah Holland explains, “[Rowan’s] been on this planet for 18 months, and he’s loaded with a chemical I’ve never heard of. He had two to three times the level of flame retardants in his body that’s been known to cause thyroid dysfunction in lab rats.” Our children are at risk, and once again I wonder if we are laboratory rats for the chemical industry. Dr. Leo Trasande, assistant director of the Center for Children’s Health and the Environment at Mount Sinai Medical Center expresses my concern:
We are in an epidemic of environmentally mediated disease among American children today. Rates of asthma, childhood cancers, birth defects and developmental disorders have exponentially increased, and it can’t be explained by changes in the human genome. So what has changed? All the chemicals we’re being exposed to.
We can’t rely on the EPA to protect our children who are at greater risk from chemicals, because their vital organs and immune systems are still developing. Manufacturers are not required to conduct human toxicity studies on chemicals before the EPA approves their use. This policy really needs to change to protect our children’s health. Babies should not be born with 300 chemicals already present in their little bodies!
Jennifer Taggart says
What is even more alarming by the EWG’s study of umbilical cord blood is that 212 of the substances have been banned for 30 or more years – mostly DDT and related compounds and PCBs. It just demonstrates the persistent of the chemicals. As mothers, we download our body burden of chemicals to our babies – across the placenta and breastfeeding. We need to be more careful about what we put in the environment without knowing what the long term effects will be. Who knew that DDT would still show up in babies born in 2008 when we banned it 30 or so years ago?
Smart Mamas Do It All Naturally
Jennifer Lance says
That is alarming. I had not read that EWG study. It is so upsetting.
David Alexander says
Well, both my children have Type I diabetes which used to have an hereditary requirement. No one in our families all the way back ever had Type I diabetes (it is not the one caused by bad diet and inactivity, which is Type II). I learned because of their diabetes that auto-immune diseases are an epidemic in our age, including type I diabetes, multiple sclerosis, asthma, fibromyalgia, autism, and more.
If we humans weren’t so smart, I would just have to say we are really STUPID!
For those who learn by viewing (like me!), you can watch our ’10 Americans’ presentation here: http://www.ewg.org/kidsafe. It is a compelling discussion by EWG President Ken Cook about our cord blood study and the reason low-dose exposures are important. It’s 20 minutes long, but worth every single minute. He’s funny, so you might just laugh and cry.
Jennifer Lance says
Thank you Lisa for the link. I am sure I will learn more by watching it.
Corey~ living and loving says
Great post. so heartbreaking to read though. I have been working to reduce chemical exposure for my child, but it feels so overwhelming. sigh….
What a scary number. I can’t believe what a toxic world we live in. I wonder how many chemicals are found in a newborn in Beijing or New Delhi.
Binary Blonde says
Oh my goodness, this is terrifying… and soul-crushingly sad. I can’t help but feel guilty for bringing my precious baby boy into this toxic world. I guess all I can do is try my hardest to prevent any more toxins from entering our home and foods and try for legislation that will make our world safer for his future. *sigh* It makes me want to break down and cry sometimes. And also, it makes me not want to have anymore children…
memory foam says
Thanks for this info on body burden results; this horrifying situation needs to be well publicized. It is becoming more and more important I think to put ourselves and our children on 100% organic diet — at least that is one area where we can make a dent in reducing the rate of this chemical accumulation. Wearing organic clothing is also helpful. And we can only hope that someday the country learns from all the bad precedent (tobacco, asbestos, dioxin, etc., etc) that we need to rest before we bring chemicals to market.
g. mora says
It just might have something to do with our own government constantly hosing down the sky with airesol chemicals since 1999. I look up and then check the horisons. Almost every day they spray and the sky becomes milky white. There are no more bright blue skies anymore. This whole bunch of lies and bullshit is really getting me pissed off, especially when we have spared no expense to insure that the get the finest in whole foods. Screw the bastards that call themselves democrats and republicans like it really is a federal republic of states.