Your Guide to Living Green During Pregnancy
There's no better time to go green than when you're trying to conceive or already expecting a baby. Dangerous toxins and nasty chemicals lurk in some surprising places. Here are some of the major culprits and how you can live greener.
Many beauty products are full of chemicals linked to birth defects, carcinogens, and ingredients derived from nonrenewable petroleum. Even sticking to products labeled organic might not be enough, because the government doesn’t regulate these products. Read the labels!
Some studies suggest that high levels of exposure to pesticides may contribute to miscarriage, preterm delivery, and birth defects. Pregnant women should avoid pesticides whenever possible to be on the safe side.
Some types of plastics contain phthalates. Choose smart plastics; check the bottom of bottles and use safer plastics (#1, #2, #4, #5), and #3, #6, and #7. Also, try not to put plastic in the microwave or the dishwasher, and don’t reuse plastic bottles.
Pesticides in Food
Stores are stocking more organic than ever, but what’s good to get organic and what non-organic are OK? Prioritize your list with the most commonly contaminated fruits and veggies: peaches, apples, strawberries, spinach, bell peppers, celery, and potatoes.
Indoor air pollution can cause many health problems. Avoid new conventional carpet, conventional household cleansers, and new vinyl shower curtains. Purchase green alternatives and also avoid using air fresheners.
Fragrance in Personal Products
Phthalates are in all kinds of products as fragrance and an oily component that helps penetrate the skin. Some have been shown to cause cancer and birth defects. Select organic products labeled “fragrance-free” or that are scented with pure essential oils.
Household Cleaning Products
“Look for signal words and avoid things labeled with [words] stronger than ‘caution,’ like ‘flammable,’ ‘fatal if swallowed,’ and ‘hazardous,’” says Annie Bond, green living expert. Instead make your own non-toxic cleaners.
Phthalates show up in nail polishes. Known to have caused birth defects in lab animals, they should be avoided. Instead of painting on chemicals, forgo the paint, indulging in a foot massage, instead. Or, buy phthalate-free polish.
Nearly all canned food contains small amounts of a bisphenol-A (BPA). Many believe exposure raises risks of certain cancers and could contribute to childhood behavioral problems. To limit exposure, choose soups, milk, and soymilk in cardboard brick cartons.
Enlist your partner to paint the nursery. The fumes in paint are volatile organic compounds and shouldn’t be near you. Lots of no- or low-VOC paints are on the market. Even when these safer products are used, pregnant women should stay away during renovations.
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