Posts Tagged ‘ toxic chemicals ’

Pregnant? Here’s Another Reason to Avoid Exposure to Common Household Chemicals

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

Exposure to Parabens Chemicals Can Affect Boys' DevelopmentSome common household items could put pregnant women’s unborn children at risk, new research from the the journal Epidemiology shows.

The study found that a woman’s exposure to a group of chemicals called phenols, especially triclosan and parabens, which are found in many soaps and cosmetics, were linked to baby boys’ increased birth weights at birth and also at age 3. Higher birth weights are dangerous as they can indicate future problems, like obesity.

Chemicals in the phenol family are endocrine interrupters, and Science Daily reports that they include:

  • Parabens: used as a preservative in cosmetics and healthcare products
  • Triclosan: some toothpastes and soaps carry this antibacterial agent and pesticide
  • Benzophenone-3:  a UV filter found in sun protection products
  • Dichlorophenols: used in the manufacture of indoor deodorisers
  • Bisphenol A (BPA): used in making polycarbonate-based plastics, like plastic bottles, CD cases, etc.
  • Epoxy resins: found in lining of food cans, dental amalgams

While previous studies of this variety have focused more exclusively on BPA exposure, this was the first of its kind to test other chemicals. And, in testing more chemicals, researchers found that 95 percent of the more than 500 women in involved in the study had been exposed to them. Yikes!

And though many of these chemicals may seem unavoidable, there is some good news—BPA in food packaging for infants and young children was banned in 2013 and will be banned for all food packaging starting Jan. 1, 2015.

Household Chores During Pregnancy: Safe or Not?
Household Chores During Pregnancy: Safe or Not?
Household Chores During Pregnancy: Safe or Not?

Photo of liquid soap courtesy of Shutterstock.

 

 

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Autism Linked to Pesticide Exposure During Pregnancy

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

Pregnant women who are exposed to chemical pesticides, especially those used to treat large farm fields, may be more likely to have babies who are later diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or other developmental delay.  A new study conducted at the University of California Davis reported these findings–the third major study to link pesticide exposure with autism rates–but stopped short of saying that pesticide exposure is definitely a cause of ASD.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest numbers suggest that 1 in 68 American children has an autism spectrum disorder, with its causes remaining one of the most vexing mysteries in modern medicine.  The debate over whether vaccines cause autism is ongoing despite copious research disproving any link, and a recent British study found that genetics may play as much of a role as whether a child is autistic as environmental exposure does.

Reuters has more on the new study, which was conducted in California where agricultural pesticide use is carefully reported and mapped:

For the new study, the researchers used those maps to track exposures during pregnancy for the mothers of 970 children.

The children included 486 with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), 168 with a developmental delay and 316 with typical development.

….

In the new study, about a third of mothers had lived within a mile of fields treated with pesticides, most commonly organophosphates.

Children of mothers exposed to organophosphates were 60 percent more likely to have an ASD than children of non-exposed mothers, the authors report in Environmental Health Perspectives.

Early Signs of Autism
Early Signs of Autism
Early Signs of Autism

Image: Tractor spraying a field, via Shutterstock

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Common Chemicals May Hurt Sperm Quality

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

A group of common chemicals called endocrine disruptors are being connected to fertility problems in men, as CNN reports:

Researchers found endocrine disruptors can interfere with human sperm’s ability to move, navigate and/or penetrate an egg. Their study results were published Monday in EMBO reports.

Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that interfere with your endocrine system – the system in your body that regulates hormones. These hormones control everything from your metabolism to your sleep cycle to your reproductive system, so messing with them can cause serious issues.

Scientists have a long list of potential endocrine disruptors, including bisphenol-A (BPA), phthalates, dioxin, mercury and perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs). They can be natural or man-made and are virtually “omnipresent,” the study authors write, in our food and in common household and personal care products.

This isn’t the first time scientists have linked these chemicals with fertility issues in humans.  For example, in 2010, a study of Chinese factory workers found exposure to BPA can reduce sperm counts. More recent studies have shown BPA and chemicals called phthalates can hinder a couple’s ability to conceive and carry a healthy baby to full term.

Scientists in Germany and Denmark tested 96 endocrine disrupting chemicals on human sperm – both individually and in various combinations.  Around one-third of the chemicals had a negative effect.

The researchers found these endocrine disruptors increased the amount of calcium found in sperm cells – although BPA was found to have no effect. Calcium ions control many of the essential functions of sperm, study author Dr. Timo Strunker explains, including the flagellum – the tail that propels sperm forward. So changing the calcium level in a sperm cell can impact its motility, or swimming ability.

Image: Sperm, via Shutterstock

Take our quiz to find out if you could be ovulating.

Pregnancy Sex Tips: Have Fun Sex and Get Pregnant
Pregnancy Sex Tips: Have Fun Sex and Get Pregnant
Pregnancy Sex Tips: Have Fun Sex and Get Pregnant

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Toxic Chemicals Found in Crib Mattresses

Friday, April 4th, 2014

Significant amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are toxic chemicals often found in household cleansers and paints, have been found in the polyurethane foam and polyester foam padding materials found in many crib mattresses.  More on the new study, which was conducted by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin:

The researchers studied samples of polyurethane foam and polyester foam padding from 20 new and old crib mattresses. Graduate student Brandon Boor, in the Cockrell School’s Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering, conducted the study under the supervision of assistant professor Ying Xu and associate professor Atila Novoselac. Boor also worked with senior researcher Helena Järnström from the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. They reported their findings in the February issue of Environmental Science & Technology.

The researchers found:

  • New crib mattresses release about four times as many VOCs as old crib mattresses.
  • Body heat increases emissions.
  • Chemical emissions are strongest in the sleeping infant’s immediate breathing zone.

The researchers concluded that, on average, mattresses emitted VOCs at a rate of 87.1 micrograms per square meter per hour, while older mattresses emitted VOCs at a rate of 22.1 micrograms per square meter per hour. Overall, Boor said crib mattresses release VOCs at rates comparable to other consumer products and indoor materials, including laminate flooring (20 to 35 micrograms per square meter per hour) and wall covering (51 micrograms per square meter per hour).

Boor became motivated to conduct the study after finding out that infants spend 50 to 60 percent of their day sleeping. Infants are considered highly susceptible to the adverse health effects of exposure to indoor air pollutants.

“I wanted to know more about the chemicals they may inhale as they sleep during their early stages of development,” he said. “This research also helps to raise awareness about the various chemicals that may be found in crib mattresses, which are not typically listed by manufacturers.”

The 20 mattress samples are from 10 manufacturers. The researchers chose not to disclose the names of the manufacturers studied so that their results could draw general attention to the product segment without focusing on specific brands.

At present, not much is known about the health effects that occur from the levels of VOCs found in homes, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Researchers advised parents to allow new mattresses to air out in a garage or protected porch for as long a period as possible before placing it in a child’s crib.

Track Baby’s milestones with our helpful tool.

Nursery Ideas: Design a Nautical Nursery
Nursery Ideas: Design a Nautical Nursery
Nursery Ideas: Design a Nautical Nursery

Image: Baby in crib, via Shutterstock

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FDA Sued Over Mercury in Dental Fillings

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

A number of dental groups and individuals have filed a lawsuit in D.C. District Federal Court alleging that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not adequately addressed concerns over the use of “amalgam,” a material that contains mercury, in dental fillings.  Among other claims, the suit alleges that such filings are particularly dangerous to children and should be restricted for use in kids and other vulnerable populations.

Attorney James M. Love, who filed the lawsuit, said in a statement that American consumers and dental professionals are being misled by the American Dental Association (ADA) — the largest and most powerful advocate for continued amalgam use.

“The ADA has misrepresented FDA’s lack of regulation as proof of safety, and continues to use this toxic dental filling, despite scientifically demonstrated risks,” said Love. “Most individuals remain unaware that those ‘silver’ fillings, prevalently used as a dental restoration and covered by insurance policies, consist of 45-55% metallic mercury, and that there are health and environmental risks associated with those fillings.”

Scientific studies cited by the plaintiffs claim that mercury is a persistent toxic chemical that can build up in the body, particularly in the kidneys and the nervous system. Young children, they say, are more sensitive to mercury and can be exposed to mercury through breast milk. Unborn fetuses can be exposed to mercury from placental transfer of mercury from a pregnant woman’s teeth if she has fillings containing amalgam.

“We have banned mercury in disinfectants, thermometers, and many other consumer products,” said Griffin Cole, DDS, President of the IAOMT. “There is no magic formula that makes mercury safe when it’s put into our mouths. It’s inexcusable to use mercury in dental fillings when there are much safer alternatives.”

A previous 2007 lawsuit, Moms Against Mercury v. Eschenbach, alleged that more than thirty years ago the FDA was legally obligated to classify dental amalgam, but did not do so. In direct response to this lawsuit, the FDA agreed to classify dental amalgam. However, FDA classified the device in Class II, assigning no controls or other measures intended to protect the public.  The new lawsuit is claiming the FDA has not responded appropriately to petitions requesting amalgam be classified as Class III, which would require higher safety standards, environmental impact studies, and restricted use in vulnerable populations, including children.

Download our free dental guide to help protect your child’s smile and build stronger, healthier teeth and gums.

Dental Experts Remind Parents, Toddlers Need to Visit Dentist by Age 1
Dental Experts Remind Parents, Toddlers Need to Visit Dentist by Age 1
Dental Experts Remind Parents, Toddlers Need to Visit Dentist by Age 1

Image: Child at the dentist, via Shutterstock

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