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Thursday, September 4th, 2014
Some 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
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.
Photo of liquid soap courtesy of Shutterstock.
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Wednesday, March 19th, 2014
Environmental toxins like air pollution may play a role in autism spectrum disorders (ASD) at levels that dwarf the extent to which pollution contributes to birth defects. More from Time.com:
Several studies have shown a link between air pollution and autism, but a new study published in the journal PLOS Computational Biology is one of the largest to put the two together.
Researchers studied insurance claims from around 100 million people in the U.S., and used congenital malformations in boys as an indictor for parental exposure to environmental toxins. “Autism appears to be strongly correlated with rate of congenital malformations of the genitals in males across the country. This gives an indicator of environmental load and the effect is surprisingly strong,” study author Andrey Rzhetsky from the University of Chicago said in a statement.
Every 1% increase in malformations corresponded to a 283% increase in autism in the same county.
Image: Pollution, via Shutterstock
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Friday, February 3rd, 2012
Citing reasons ranging from the childhood obesity epidemic to heightened diabetes, liver problem, and high cholesterol risks, a group of researchers has published a commentary in the journal Nature urging the government to regulate sugar in the same way it regulates alcohol and tobacco. Journalist Christopher Wanjek reports on LifeScience.com:
The researchers propose regulations such as taxing all foods and drinks that include added sugar, banning sales in or near schools and placing age limits on purchases.
Although the commentary might seem straight out of the Journal of Ideas That Will Never Fly, the researchers cite numerous studies and statistics to make their case that added sugar — or, more specifically, sucrose, an even mix of glucose and fructose found in high-fructose corn syrup and in table sugar made from sugar cane and sugar beets — has been as detrimental to society as alcohol and tobacco.
[Robert] Lustig, a medical doctor in UCSF’s Department of Pediatrics, compares added sugar to tobacco and alcohol (coincidentally made from sugar) in that it is addictive, toxic and has a negative impact on society, thus meeting established public health criteria for regulation. Lustig advocates a consumer tax on any product with added sugar.
Among Lustig’s more radical proposals are to ban the sale of sugary drinks to children under age 17 and to tighten zoning laws for the sale of sugary beverages and snacks around schools and in low-income areas plagued by obesity, analogous to alcoholism and alcohol regulation.
Read on for Parents’com’s High Chair Times blog’s take on the proposal, and Heather’s question: What about artificial sweeteners?
Image: Sugary sprinkles, via Shutterstock.
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Tuesday, November 8th, 2011
The Sierra Club has launched an ad campaign in the Washington, DC subway system designed to educate the public about the dangers of mercury pollution for pregnant women. The ads focus on mercury pollution that is released from coal-fired power plants, and alleges that toxic levels of mercury are left unrestrained by the federal government.
“At least 1 in 12, and as many as 1 in 6, American women have enough mercury in their bodies to put a baby at risk. That means that each year more than 300,000 babies are born at risk of mercury poisoning,” the Sierra Club’s website reports. Babies and children with high levels of mercury can develop developmental problems, learning disabilities, and delayed onset of walking and talking.
The ad reads:
Mercury pollution from our nation’s coal-burning power plants is harming pregnant women and their unborn children. Mercury is a powerful neurotoxin that can damage the brain and nervous system – causing developmental problems and learning disabilities. Text COAL to 69866 to take action for cleaner air and water and to let the Obama Administration know we are counting on them to protect our environment, our children, from toxic mercury pollution. beyondcoal.org
(image via: http://sierraclub.typepad.com)
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